The Astraeus flight from London landed at Lungi airport on the 4th of April 2008 at 7:50 pm. Among the passengers were returnees and foreigners visiting Sierra Leone for the first time.
Arriving at Targrin terminal, the ferry which was supposed to have left at 10p.m did not leave Targrin till 3:15 am.
The saga started when cars from Kissy Terminal onboard the ferry refused to disembark at Targrin, because there were some unruly Sierra Leoneans who believed they were above the law.
Those ‘You know who am I?’ All because according to their illogical minds they were using the same ferry back to Freetown, when they did not even pay a return fare.
The scenario continued till 1 a.m on Saturday, because the Captain of the ferry refused to budge to their antics during which tempers became frayed, but thanks to some law enforcement personnel, who intervened.
When the ferry decided to take off the Captain announced that the tide was low. The ferry finally left at 3:15 am and arrived at Kissy Terminal at about 4:05 am.
Unloading the cars took another forty-five minutes. Most people were astonished at such unbelievable behaviour. It confirms that the country is lawless and ungovernable.
The plane that brought them to Lungi airport had already arrived back at Gatwick yet they had not even seen the capital, Freetown.
You can imagine the heat – humidity, passengers were dehydrated not to mention the mosquito bites. It was awful. It was just a torture. Some of the comments I heard from foreign passengers are unprintable.
Some swore not to step foot on this soil again. The number of people who went into a frenzy was unbelievable.
If as a nation we talk about encouraging tourism let us start thinking whether it just a joke. Imagine being in such a situation for the first time and you are here on business to help Sierra Leone.
What baffled me was that I understood it has become a ritual every time the ferry has to leave Targrin Terminal when passengers arrive from Lungi. It is not an isolated incidence.
It is a premeditated act to destroy the good name of Sierra Leone what others will call sabotage.
I am appealing to the Ministry of Transport and Aviation; the Sierra Leone Ports Authority to please investigate this incident if not our only airport will be blacklisted, like what has happened to the National Stadium.
By Dr. Boye Roberts