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Uganda gets passenger ship to ply East Africa

By Vision Reporter

Added 4th October 2010 03:00 AM

The first passenger ship to link Uganda to Kenya and Tanzania will start operations next month, New Vision has learnt. Anthony Esenu, the chairman, board of directors of EarthWise Ferries Uganda, which will man the ship, told New Vision that the 150-passenger ferry would reduce the current travel ti

The first passenger ship to link Uganda to Kenya and Tanzania will start operations next month, New Vision has learnt. Anthony Esenu, the chairman, board of directors of EarthWise Ferries Uganda, which will man the ship, told New Vision that the 150-passenger ferry would reduce the current travel ti

BY PATRICK JARAMOGI

The first passenger ship to link Uganda to Kenya and Tanzania will start operations next month, New Vision has learnt. Anthony Esenu, the chairman, board of directors of EarthWise Ferries Uganda, which will man the ship, told New Vision that the 150-passenger ferry would reduce the current travel time on Lake Victoria by at least 60%.

“People travelling to Kalangala have been spending three hours on water from Entebbe on the MV Kalangala. This new ship will spend 45 minutes,” said Esenu.

“In fact, by the time the MV Kalangala docks Kalangala, we shall have made four trips from Port-Bell in Luzira,” he said.

It will also take the ferry three hours to reach Kisumu compared to the 10 hours small boats take, while travelling to Mwanza will be reduced from 20 hours to 10 hours.

The ship is currently being re-assembled at Garuga along the shores of Lake Victoria. Built in the US, the ferry will ply Port-Bell, Mwanza, Kisumu and Bukoba in Tanzania.

Currently, Uganda has only one ship, the MV Kalangala, which plies Entebbe and Kalangala. MV Kaawa and MV Pamba are grounded at Port Bell in Luzira.

The two need sh3.5b for structural repairs, according to the works minister, John Nasasira. ‘There will be no provision for carrying vehicles. We want comfort for the passengers. Heavy cargo will be carried in the cargo ship,” he said.

Earthwise Ferries last year won the 2009 African Diaspora Marketplace business plan competition sponsored by USAID and Western Union.

The grant of $100,000 (about sh180m) was used to accelerate the company’s ferry operations on Lake Victoria. Esenu said they were investing $1.8m (about sh3.8b) in the project and added that the ferry was designed to run on diesel or straight vegetable oil.

“This ferry project aims to restore safe, fast, reliable, and comfortable water transport on Lake Victoria,” he said.

“This is just the first in a fleet of about 10 vessels that we plan to put on Lake Victoria over the next 10 years,” Esenu said.

The 30-tonne ferry will go for a test ride later this month, travelling between Port Bell and Mwanza. It will officially be launched in December.

Uganda gets passenger ship to ply East Africa

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