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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Ferry boat stranded for 12 hours, patient dies in ambulance

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By Omar Bah

The Gambia Ferry Services has said the vessel Kunta Kinteh which was stranded at seas for twelve hours had been entangled in a fishing net near Barra.

On Sunday, the ferry got stuck with passengers and vehicles at Barra for 12 hours causing public outcry and outrage.  A sick person in an ambulance on the ferry died during the long ordeal.

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Confronted by journalists Lamin Jawara, general manager of the ferry services said one of the vessel’s rudder propellers got entangled with a fishing net, a frequent occurrence near the landing site in Barra.

“As a result of this the ferry was not able to move and spent the night at the Barra landing site. When it happened, the captain rushed and removed the net and attempted to ply back to Banjul but was hindered by low tide,” Jawara added.

He said the ferry was able to resume service yesterday morning.

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“It was an unfortunate and regrettable incident. We apologise to all the passengers and Gambians at large,” a remorseful Jawara said, adding it is beyond his office’s control.

“Our objective is to provide effective, safe and reliable transportation for people and goods. Issues like this are bound to happen but we are working closely with our partners the Gambia maritime administration, Gambia navy and others to prevent incidences of this nature,” he added.

Commenting on the death of the patient who was being evacuated to Banjul, Jawara described the incident as “unfortunate and highly regrettable.”

“As we speak, there is a team heading to Medina Serign Mass to visit the family of the deceased. Our condolences go to the family. We will do our best to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents,” he disclosed.

The GPA managing director Ousman Jobarteh described the incident as “unfortunate”.

“We will not relent in our efforts to continue to provide the necessary resources for the ferries because even with the tariff increment, the revenue that the ferry is generating is not even enough to recover their costs,” he said.

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