Like motor vehicles that are taken to garages for servicing and repairs for road safety requirements, ferries also have to meet seaworthiness requirements as per the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The Kayunga–Kamuli ferry will effective 14th November be docked for a week to enable it undergo routine maintenance by Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) engineers.
The vessel that links Buganda region in Kayunga to Busoga region in Kamuli was a Presidential initiative for eased crossing.
This 90 ton vessel assembled in 2010 and commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni in 2014 was initially interrupted by rocks within the first surveyed route that were affecting the vessel’s propellers.
The initial surveyed route at Nabuganyi-Mburamuti landing sites failed and shifted to Kasana Bugobero landing site in Kayunga District and Izaniro.
The ferry services in the area greatly reduced on the distance from Kayunga to Kamuli district by a substantial percentage especially from Kamuli to Kayunga, Mukono–Kampala and other area no longer have to take the lengthy Jinja Highway.
Joseph Ndifuna a general merchandises businessman in Kamuli town said UNRA should devise emergency means of crossing the river whenever the ferry is undergoing repairs.
He said this will reduce on the inconveniences the public goes through and safeguarding them from ordinary boats that overloaded and are a bit expensive.
Engineer Robert Mutyaba UNRA’s head of ferries said the servicing and repairs will involve removal of two pairs of ramps. The ramps assist the ferry in docking and they depreciate very fast compared to other vessel parts.
Mutyaba said ferries being classified as continued roads on navigable water, they are free of charge for all users.
The ferry has a loading capacity of over 120 passengers and 8 vehicles with an average of 15 trips a day from Monday to Sunday.
UNRA is managing other ferries like Laropi in Moyo on Albert Nile, Masindi Port on River Nile, Wanseko on Lake Albert, Buvuma/Kiyindi on Lake Victoria, Nakiwogo /Buwaya on Lake Victoria, .
Others are MV Pearl and MV Ssese at Bukakata/Luuku on Lake Victoria linking Makasa to Kalangala operated under public private partnership with Kalangala Infrastructure Services (KIS), Kyoga 1 and Kyoga 2.