By Louise Jobe
Information reaching this medium for the past days, claim that one of the ferries plying the crossing point of Banjul and Barra, got stuck for hours before it was able to properly dock. The incident happened on Tuesday, 8thAugust 2017 when the ‘Kanilai’ Ferry was unable to dock on the Banjul side due to heavy siltation.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Gambia Ports Authority, Mr. Momodou L. Sanyang was able to confirm this information. Mr. Sanyang said the ‘Kanilai’ ferry was loaded to normal capacity with Vehicles and passengers from Barra, bound for Banjul terminal, but was unable to dock due to heavy siltation at low tide.
‘‘We operate our ferries based on the tidal situation of the sea. This is because of the siltation that occurs at the docking point,’’ he said. We usually do some dredging works to maintain the depth so that the ferry can properly dock to allow passengers and vehicles have a smooth disembarkation. According to the PRO, when the ferry arrived, it was already low tide and due to the load it had, it was not able to reach the ram and make the proper docking for a safe disembarkation of both passengers and vehicles. The PRO said if the ferry was to reach the rams, it will touch the sea bed, causing damage to the propellers.
PRO Sanyang acknowledged that the ferry spent some time at sea but they were able to use means for the smooth disembarkation of passengers. The PRO said that this was what they faced yesterday and they thank God because there was no problem to either passenger or ferry.
On the situation of the new ferry, ‘Kunta Kinteh,’ the PRO disclosed to this medium that they will not take any risk to operate the ferry when it is already showing a signal alarm on her display board; that the technical team in charge have already reported this to management who authorized them to stop it’s operation, until personnel from the Damen Ship yard in Holland are here to fix it.
He said the experts are already in country to check on the machines of the new ferry, and should be able to know the reason for the alarm display. PRO Sanyang said the new ferry has been out of service since Saturday but promised that it will resume services soonest. On the siltation situation, PRO Sanyang indicated that top among their priorities is to bring a section dredger for the docking points of the ferries to remove the sediment deposits and maintain the depth at which the ferries can smoothly dock.