Alex Mugoya, a vessel captain with Kalangala Infrastructure Service Maritime Department suggests that the technology used by vessels should be merged with modern GPS technology and echo sounders to help captains navigate the lake with knowledge of items beneath while measuring the distance and depth of the lake.
The planned implementation of maritime
laws and requirements for Marine Vessels transporting goods and cargo on
Ugandan water bodies hangs in balance, one year after the infamous MV Templar
MV Templar, a Marine Vessel
plying from Gaba in Kampala to K-Palm beach, a recreation centre in Mukono district,
capsized on November 24, 2018, with close to 100 revellers on board. About 26
people drowned to death.
The government later indicated
that the marine vessel was in dangerous mechanical condition and did not have
requisite requirements for transporting people and cargo. The requirements include
a sea worthy certificate, marine operators and navigation charts.
In the aftermath, the government
embarked on upgrading and updating the categories of Marine Vessels on the Lake
to ensure that they are all seaworthy. It also issued guidelines for transporting
people on the water, tasking vessel operators to guarantee the availability of lifesaving
jackets, buoys and other coastguard safety equipment.
The government also set out to
map all dangerous spots on the lake to ensure that Marine Vessels do not
collide with objects in the water. Also, Navigation Charts would be updated for easy
navigation. But the plan that was supposed to take immediate effect, has not
been initiated yet.
Jonah Mumbya, the Maritime
Administration safety officer said that plan would take up to three years,
until 2021 to be complete. He is however
optimistic that the exercise would help in promoting good navigation of the
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The government embarked on the baseline survey, registering vessels and the landing sites on which they
operate. But only a handful of marine
vessels were inspected and awarded sea worthy certificates after the baseline survey, according to George Muhenda Rukara, the Commissioner Maritime
Meanwhile, Alex Mugoya, a vessel
captain with Kalangala Infrastructure Service Maritime Department suggests that
the technology used by vessels should be merged with modern GPS technology and echo
sounders to help captains navigate the lake with knowledge of items beneath
while measuring the distance and depth of the lake.
Currently, most of the large
marine vessels that transport cargo on rail wagons from Port Bell to Kisumu and
Mwanza use magnetic fields and Navigation charts, which are reported to be
archaic. Mugoya says that modern technology can easily detect dangerous spots
and create new navigation routes.
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Large Marine Vessel operators
like MV Kalangala and MV Kaawa also demand that government also constructs Light
houses on the water to clearly mark spots beyond which are dangerous for large
marine vessels to ply.
Kyamuswa county chairperson
Charles Kavuma says currently, the country is bound to lose more people in
water accidents since the implementation of vital regulations was dropped.