The government of Sierra Leone over the weekend without notice lifted the apparent ban on the MV Mahera Ferry and allowed it to start operations after it had been refurbished. Over the past few months ferry passengers were constrained and normally faced undue embarrassment and disappointment to travel from Lungi to Freetown because only one ferry (MV Great Scarcies) was operational and passengers had to wait for hours or pay exorbitant fees to highly risked wooden canoes to reach Lungi. MV Mahera Ferry was anchored since December 2007 on the orders of the Ministry of Transportation and Aviation for lack of sea worthiness but major repairs were completed early this year and it can now boast of a new 74 KVA generator and additional facilities like navigation light and adequate life jackets for passengers and also a ramp for the smooth offloading of vehicles from the ferry. Questions had been asked as to why they were not allowed to operate even after completion of the required repairs. This was answered when they were given the go-ahead to start operating as of Friday July4th. The management nor the workers could however say for sure who or where the order came from for them to re-start their operations. However greeted with joy as they disembarked on one of the ferries, and they promised to continue using the ferry service as it is one of the gate ways to Sierra Leone. The terminal compound has also been cleaned and most idlers have been asked to vacate the gate entrance including the terminal compound, toilet facilities and the waiting room for passengers is currently under rehabilitation and there are plans to improve more facilities at the terminal to meet International Standards. Management of the ferry terminal is also determined to ensure that the harbor is dredged and scrap metals of sunk boats taken away to avoid boats being damaged at the dock, they are also monitoring wooden and speed boats operations to ensure that there are adequate life jackets, fuel and overloading will be discouraged to avoid sea accidents during the rains, that will destroy lives and properties. According to Peter Deen the time keeper and schedule officer at the Kissy terminal who disclosed to this press that, one of the ferries will be at Lungi and the other one in Freetown with 30minutes intervals to wait for arriving and departing passengers and the daily service ends at 8:00pm at night, tickets sales and ferry trips are expected to increase on peak days. The other ferry MV Murzuk is reportedly under repairs at the slip-way, and after completion it will start operation. Improvement of facilities at the Kissy terminal is one the greatest challenges facing the terminal manager and government to attract more visitors and investors in to the country.
By Saidu Bah