Advocacy StatementsNovember 12, 20190 CommentsKituo Cha Sheria

The Managing Director, Kenya Ferry Services (KFS);

7th November 2019

The Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG) is a broad coalition of CSOs, religious organizations and non-state actors operating in the Coast Region with the core mandate of protecting and upholding Human Rights.  

The import of this Petition is raise with you, a number of issues emanating from our membership and the Community at large about operations of the Kenya Ferry Services in recent times. We thus look forward to you for responses and solutions to the same.

It is our standpoint that the key business of the Service is transporting passengers and their property. The same is expected to be done in a manner that respects Human Rights of commuters, international safety standards and in a manner that manifests professionalism at the Ferry Service:

As such we raise the following concerns:

  1. It is in the public domain courtesy of your pronouncements at a Parliamentary Committee that three ferries Mv Nyayo, Mv Harambee and Kilindini are considered out of international standards. They are considered unseaworthy. It is our position that this is endangering the lives of commuters and those ferries should be replaced forthwith;
  1. In 2018, the Auditor General said he could not confirm the accuracy of claims of the building and supply of two ferries that cost KSh. 2 billion. We have reports that there are several strands of corruption involving staff seeking stipends from the public. Yet, we are yet to see prosecution relating to allegations of this kind. We state that the service should address this matter with the seriousness it deserves to enhance accountability and win public confidence.
  2. What is the fate of the land of the Kenya Ferry Service that has been grabbed and is in the hands of private individuals?
  3. The following reported incidences form part of the account that we consider as looming crisis at the Service:  
  1. On October 26, 2015, eleven people were seriously injured in a stampede at the channel as hundreds of commuters scrambled to access the ferries.
  2. On May 9, 2016, MV Nyayo was pushed by tides off the Likoni channel towards the deep sea with commuters onboard. It was towed to the inland after reinforcement;
  3. On December 15, 2016, GSU officers had to be called in to calm commuters at the Channel following the breakdown of three ferries. For about five hours, only MV Likoni was operating. The other three ferries – MV Kwale, MV Harambee and MV Nyayo – developed mechanical problems and had to be withdrawn.
  4. On 19th March 2018, MV Nyayo was withdrawn from service after a technical hitch. MV Jambo was also withdrawn from the channel under similar circumstances.
  5. On 20th March 2018, MV Jambo stalled in the middle of the Ocean.
  6. On September 2018, there was heavy traffic at the Likoni crossing channel after three ferries developed engine problems and broke down.
  7. In August 2019, a ferry with over 1000 people almost collided with an oil tanker. The KFS admitted the fault three weeks later.
  8. It shouldn’t be lost on us that in 1994, MV Mtongwe ferry, capsized just 40 meters from the port. 272 of the 400 people on board died.
  9. We consider recent public pronouncements, especially on the recently launched strategic plan as falling short in addressing urgent commuter concerns. We hear more about bridges, cable cars, flouting restaurants and by-passes and not basic security and safety concerns that are here on daily basis.

The above trends have negative ramifications on investor confidence and pushes the coastal region to further economic challenges.  

On account of this statement, we state:

  1. The KFS Management should move with speed to restore confidence in Ferry Services, more sustainable than knee jerk reactions being observed;
  2. The findings of investigations into the incident of Amanda and her Mother Mariam be made public and prosecutions follow forthwith;
  3. That any other investigations/proceedings regarding the progress at the ferry include the voice of the public (Commuters) and findings be shared with the public;
  4. The Kenya Ferry Service should overhaul the ferries in place and purchase new ones that uphold respect and dignity of Commuters;
  5. The review of the Strategic Plan to reflect realities on the ground, specifically on safety of ferry users;
  6. Kenya Ferry Services to hire divers and train them to International Standards; this should be considered urgent;
  7. The matter of crowding at the waiting lounge and incidences of sexual harassment, theft, be urgently addressed- compare the SGR and Airport.
  8. The faulty security apparatus should be maintained and standards well maintained;
  9. Key question of the constitutionality of the management of KFS requires rethinking by policy makers. Unfortunately the Supreme Court threw this out on technicality.

We intend to have a review meeting after two months to monitor progress on areas of concern:


The Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG)

Mombasa, Kenya

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