Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Works has said that MV Kalangala will resume operations by end of this month when renovation works at the Nakiwogo and Lutoboka docking piers are completed.
MV Kalangala that plies the Entebbe – Kalangala route suspended its operations in February this year to undergo its annual maintenance done in Mwanza, Tanzania. However, the vessel returned in May and has remained grounded at Port Alice, in Nakiwogo because the docking piers are still being upgraded.
The old piers got submerged by water levels on Lake Victoria which increased drastically from 12 meters in October 2019 to 13.48 meters in May 2020, the highest level ever recorded in 50 years.
Susan Kataike, the spokesperson for the works ministry says that work at Nakiwogo docking pier commenced mid-July while that of Lutoboka will start next week.
Kataike says that a tentative date for the vessel to resume operation will be announced as soon as the ongoing works on both piers are completed.
She adds that the ministry is also discussing the standard operating procedures to be observed when the vessel resumes operations.
MV Kalangala, with the capacity to carry 100 passengers, 165 tons of cargo and 4 buses, is one of the major marine vessels plying from the mainland in Entebbe to Kalangala. Before leaving for major servicing, the ship used to operate one return trip between Entebbe and Kalangala, departing Entebbe daily at 2 pm and returning the next day at 11 am.
The vessel charges the least on that route whereby passengers pay 10,000 and 14,000 Shillings to sit at the ordinary and VIP sections respectively per trip.
In comparison, private vessels MV Natalie and MV Vanessa that ply the same route are charging passengers 35,000 Shillings for a single trip to Kalangala and 70,000 Shillings for a return journey during the week. The vessels also charge 45,000 Shillings for a one-way ticket and 85,000 Shillings for a return journey on weekends.
As a result, passengers who usually travel to and from both areas want MV Kalangala to resume operations because of it’s cheaper cost and capacity to carry more load.