Breaking

Mariners Call for Government Commitment to Develop Industry

The industry has suffered setbacks in the development of the different harbour, piers and landing sites that in turn lives private investors unable to open routes to several destinations across water bodies in the country.
MV Vanessa

Audio 1

Marine engineers have called for renewed government commitment towards the development of the industry.   

The industry has suffered setbacks in the development of the different harbour, piers and landing sites that in turn lives private investors unable to open routes to several destinations across water bodies in the country. 

Such Infrastructure according to Novat Baliremwa Mukajaanga, a Marine Officer attached to the Ministry of Works, would help open up businesses in distant destinations especially across Lake Victoria for several marine vessels introduced in the country in recent months. 

2019 alone has seen the emergence of MV Vanessa and MV Natalie operated by the Nyanza Waterways marine company, MV Sigulu to operate in the Sigulu Islands, the opening of the Northern Corridor route by Uganda Railway Corporation through MV Kaawa and the re-introduction of MV Bukakata to operate the Buvuma – Buikwe route on Lake Victoria.

The Vessels joined MV Kalangala, MV Pearl and MV Ssese that ply the Kalangala Route, the Buvuma, Buwaya ferries, and the MV Victoria ferries that transport people and cargo to different destinations within Lake Victoria. 

The vessels were introduced after MV Templar, a rudimentary passenger boat that was transporting revellers to and from K Palm beach capsized leaving 26 people dead. The tragedy led to the implementation of several guidelines on water transport by the Department of Maritime in the Ministry of Works and Transport. 

The regulations included testing passenger boats on seaworthiness, having qualified marine officers on the different boats and purchase of the required safety gear including life jackets, buoys and passenger rescue boats to save people in a time of danger.    

Mukajaanga now observes a need to repair and upgrade infrastructures such as Ports, harbour and docking piers to allow marine vessels such as landing crafts, rail and ferry wagons, yatches and ferries to easily land in several parts of the country to expand the business.   

//Cue in; “Is very broad…

Cue out… that much considerate.”// 

Tony Abraham, a marine expert in Entebbe says that whereas there is an increase in the number of vessels plying across Lake Victoria, the government needs to ensure that the lake is resurveyed in order to update the navigation charts used by operators of large marine vessels. This would also ensure that marine-related accidents are avoided. 

“The Navigation charts being used today were made in 1900. The same routes are used by the electronic navigation charts. If a Marine Vessel has no echo sounders, GPS systems and a magnetic field compass, they are susceptible to colliding with submerged rocks in the lake,” Abraham says. 

Currently, the government has earmarked resources, about USD 5 million for the repair and upgrade of MV Pamba, another rail wagon ferry on the Port Bell floating dock site. The vessel is expected to also work on the Northern Corridor route on Lake Victoria transporting cargo to and from Mwanza, Port Bell and Port Florence in Kisumu, Kenya. 

The Marine operators also demand that the government encourages and sponsors more Ugandans join marine schools and learn how to operate Marine Vessels. Currently, 70 per cent of the trained marine operators in Uganda come from Tanzania and Kenya. 

Uganda also has no marine school. All those interested in learning maritime have to travel to Kisumu, Mombasa, Mwanza and Dar Es Salam.

Images 1

Entities