Friday, July 3, 2009

JK slams Sumatra for failure to check marine accidents

The Guardian: Friday, June 5, 2009
By Joyce Kisaka
President Jakaya Kikwete yesterday slammed the Surface and Marine transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) for its failure to prevent marine accident.

He sounded the blame in Dar es Salaam at the official inauguration of new ‘Mv Magogoni’ ferry, which has the capacity of carrying 50,000 passengers a day together with 1,000-2,500 cars. The cost of the pontoon is 8.6bn/-

President Kikwete said last year, 28 accidents occurred whereby 49 people died, while 240 were rescued, adding that analysis showed that carrying large numbers of passengers than authorised, cargo, poor sea vessel maintenance, weather and failure to do regular inspections were the main causes of accidents.

“Sumatra should do regular inspections, failure to do so will cause more disasters, he insisted.

Speaking on the issue of the ferry, he said despite the government efforts to have more ferries, construction of Kigamboni Bridge was in pipeline. The president said the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) which is undertaking the project was in the tendering process.

The president mentioned other ferries as ‘MV Kigamboni’ expected to start in September.

Speaking about the new ferry, President Kikwete said he was happy with the achievements made in facilitating sea transport, because the vessel was Tanzania made.

About 30 people got employment and ferry building technology during its construction, and would not continue to work on other ferries like ‘MV Kigamboni’ he said.

President Kikwete however, denied allegations that Kigamboni area had been sold to business in the US and the Arab world, saying all was mere fabrication.

“There is nothing like selling this area, but what I know is that Ilala Municipality will collaboration with the Ministry for Lands and Human Settlements to survey the area,” he said.

Earlier, infrastructure Development permanent secretary Engineer Omary Chambo said the government signed a contract with a Germany company for construction of the ferry in November 2006 at the cost 8.6bn/-

He said Sumatra will do regular inspection in order to maintain the standard of the ferry and avoid accidents.

He said the government will continue with construction of ferries all over the country as it now has money from the World Bank.

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