By Steven Candia
THE commission of inquiry into sinking of MV Kabalega in May, handed in its report yesterday.
The voluminous report, complete with recommendations, was handed over to the Minister of Works, John Nasasira, at the ministry board room by the commission chairman, Supreme Court justice Bart Katureebe.
Katureebe handed in the report one-and-a-half months after the commissions deadline of July 18. The report was short on the recommendations but pointed out four glaring anomalies that could have led to the accident.
Top was an inadequately trained crew left to man the bridge of the two ferries on that fateful night of May 8, failure to implement recommendation of probe reports of earlier accidents involving the vessels, lack of communication equipment and absence of a search and rescue unit that could have moved in to save the sunken ferry at the time of distress.
â€œWe notice that this was not the first accident with these ships on the lake. A number of reports had been made but one thing is that there were still inadequately trained people manning the bridge of both ships on that night,â€ Katureebe said. He wondered why 10 years down the road, the recommendation of a report had not been implemented.
Nasasira promised that the Government would look into the recommendations and implement it to the best of its ability.
He pointed out that the structural repairs on the two ships MV Kaawa and Mv Pamba that were grounded after the fateful incident is almost complete.
â€œFunds are being mobilised to complete the maintenance work required to bring the vessels to class and insurance before they are put back in service. Sh3.4b is required to fully repair and maintain, class and insure the vessels,â€ Nasasira said.
Present at the function were commissioners Capt. Patrick Musoke and Mike Chibita wa Duallo. Commissioner Arthur Mwaitenda and Joseph Elotu were absent. Paul Etiang, the board chairman of the Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) and the URC managing director, Daudi Murungi, among others, attended.
MV Kabalega, belonging to the Uganda Railways Corporation (URC), sunk 150 feet deep to the bottom of Lake Victoria after it collided with a sister ferry, MV Kaawa, 50 nautical miles from Kuye Islands on May 8.
The sunken ferry was heading to port Bell from the Tanzanian port town of Mwanza while Kaawa was heading in the opposite direction.