29.2 C
City of Banjul
Sunday, May 19, 2024
spot_img
spot_img

Gov’t to purchase 2 new ferries as protest looms

- Advertisement -
image 52

By Omar Bah

The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) has announced it will sign a contract today with Damen Shipyard for the construction and design of two new ferries.

The Banjul-Barra river transport is currently without a ferry following the Gambia Ferry Services announcement on Saturday that ferry operations across the routes are suspended until further notice. This followed the sidelining of the Kanilai ferry for maintenance after it was stranded at sea for several hours with passengers on board. The Kunta Kinteh ferry had previously been taken out of service for maintenance in March. The dilemma surrounding the ferries has created mayhem, especially for travellers from the North Bank Region. A good number of Gambians, including hundreds of civil servants, cross over to Banjul every day.

- Advertisement -

Now the only available means of transport are boats or trans-Gambia, which will cost commuters hundreds of dalasi. With the ferry, a round trip is D70, while for the boat, it will cost commuters D140. Commenting on the purchase of the new ferries, Minister of Works Ebrima Sillah said it will take the government at least sixteen months to get the ferries in Banjul.

Modou Sarr, a resident of Barra, told The Standard on Sunday that the suspension of ferry services will negative effects on businesses in Barra, especially of those who get their goods from Barra. “The boats are very expensive, and the trans-Gambia would also mean extra charges for us. I want to appeal to the government to expedite the maintenance of the ferries and ensure they buy new ones as soon as possible,” he said.

Fatou Cham, a trader and resident of Essau, said she used to travel every day to Banjul to sell her goods and return on the same day.

- Advertisement -

“But now that there is no ferry, I don’t think I will be able to sustain it because the boats are a little bit expensive compared to the ferries,” she said.

Meanwhile, the people of Nuimi and those who frequent the crossing, have announced that they will hold a peaceful protest on Sunday, April 21 at 9:30am, in response to the ferry crisis.

The protest is expected to be held in both Banjul and Barra simultaneous.

Join The Conversation
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img