September 16, 2013

MV Pearl Breaks Down Again

Transport is paralyzed between Masaka and Kalangala following the break down of MV Pearl ferry, which connects the two districts.

MV Pearl operates between Bukakata landing site in Masaka and Luku-Bugoma landing site in Mugoye sub county, Kalangala district. The ferry broke down on Sunday evening in the middle of Lake Victoria sending panic amongst more than 90 passengers on board.

MV Pearl has not undergone the mandatory repairs since it was launched last year.
MV Pearl has not undergone the mandatory repairs since it was launched last year.

Andrew Mukalazi, the Kalangala District Medical Technician who was on board says they were trapped on the lake for six hours.

He says despite the fact that they were expected to dock at around 5:30pm they docked after midnight. Mukalazi, who was travelling back to work from Masaka says they tried to call for rescue boats but they were stopped by the operators of the ferry saying bringing the boats close to the ferry would expose it to more danger. He says the operators of the ferry told them that the engine shut down because of a technical problem in the engine and steering wheel.

Edward Bugimbi, who was also traveling on the ferry, says it managed to dock at Bugoma Island after midnight after several hours of repair.

He says even after the minor repair was done, it took the operators at least one hour to dock. John Opiro, the Managing Director Kalangala Infrastructural Services Limited, which manages the ferry, switched off his phone when our reporter asked him to explain the problem with the ferry.

On Monday morning, several travelers from Bukakata and Bugoma Islands were left stranded as the ferry is grounded.

They included school children who were returning to school, fish and charcoal trucks. Red Pepper Online has learnt that MV Pearl has not undergone the mandatory repairs since it was launched last year.

Last week, the same ferry broke down on Lake Victoria forcing management to suspend some operations.

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