Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kalangala authorities and hotel owners are pessimistic about the safety of MV Kalangala to handle the high volume of travelers during the festive season. MV Kalangala plies the Entebbe- Kalangala route on Lake Victoria.
The ferry conducts one return route each day. It sets off from Kalangala at 8am and docks at Nakiwoggo landing site in Entebbe around 11am. It makes a return trip to Kalangala starting at 2pm and docks at around 5pm.
Last month, the Works and Transport Ministry wrote to Sadala Musoke, the Managing Director Nation Oil Distributors – NODL, which operates the ferry instructing them not to carry not more than 100 passengers, 8 crew members and 8 vehicles. The remaining capacity was reserved for cargo.
Musoke protested the guidelines, saying MV Kalangala has capacity to carry more than 150 tons of cargo. Sadala wants all passengers who want to use MV Kalangala to board despite the limited capacity.
However, Kalangala experiences an influx of tourists and holiday makers during festive seasons. Most of them rely on the marine vessels including MV Pearl, MV Ssese and MV Kalangala to connect to the Island district.
MV Kalangala whose capacity is to transport 100 passengers ends up carrying more than 400 passengers during the festive season.
The fresh instructions to the ferry operators have drawn the concern of local leaders and hoteliers in Kalangala district led by Ronald Ssemogerere, the manager Pearl Gardens Beach Hotel.
Ssemogerere says they are worrisome about the safety of their clients and want assurances from the marine operators and Works Ministry.
Well as the Leaders and Hoteliers are not concerned about MV Pearl and MV Ssese, the District Chairperson Willy Lugoloobi, insists the operators of MV Kalangala must follow the guidelines to ensure the safety of all tourists.
Sadala Musoke, the Managing Director Nation Oil Distributors has pleaded authorities to allow MV Kalangala to transport all available passengers so as to ensure efficient transport.
John Opondo the Managing Director Kalangala Infrastructure Services Limited, the Operator of MV Pearl and MV Ssese, says to avoid any accident in the Kalangala Maritime sector, there is a set of combination measures that need to be put in place.
The concerns of safety come a few weeks after MV Templar capsized while transporting revelers to K Palm beach in Mpatta Sub County in Mukono District with more than 100 people on board.
Asuman Mugenyi, the Director of Operations Uganda Police told journalists that the vessel was neither licensed to carry passengers nor did it have safety measures.
Daniel Kikoola, the Kalangala Resident District Commissioner, says such incidents shouldn’t happen on any Kalangala Marine vessel since they carry more passengers. Currently, MV Kalangala is neither insured nor does have an operating rescue boat.