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Boat operators demand free life jackets

FILE PHOTO: MV Templar boat

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Fishermen and boat operators at Buwaya and Nakiwogo landing sites have asked government to provide them with free life jackets.

A research by the National Fisheries Institute in 2017 indicated that only 23% of the water vessels on Lake Victoria have lifesaving jackets.

The boat owners led by Taaka Kisenyi wants the government to avail free life jackets if they want to ensure safety on the lake.

The call was made during the inspection and registration of boats and vessels. More than 180 water vessels were registered on the first day. The Ministry of works transport and maritime officials also inspected both MV Kalangala and the mini ferry that connects Entebbe to Buwaya to ensure its safety.

The registration follows the capsizing of MV Templar a marine vessel that was transporting revellers from Gaba landing site to K Palm beach in Mpatta Sub County, Mukono district.

More than 25 people died. The Ministry of works later told the media that MV Templar was in dangerous mechanical conditions and wasn’t supposed to transport people.

Barnabas Twinomujuni, the officer in charge of Licensing and registration at the Ministry of Works and Transport says that registration of the vessels seeks to ascertain the number of water vessels on Lake Victoria as a way of ensuring safety and security of Marine Transport.

The exercise will be conducted in more than 50 landing sites. They include Nakiwogo Landing site, Entebbe Sailing Club, Kasenyi, Kigungu, Kitubulu, waterfront and annexe landing sites will have all vessels counted. The exercise will also continue in Kalangala, Masaka, Rakai, Kalungu, among other districts.

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