MV Pearl, the newly launched private ferry on Lake Victoria, has resumed operations two days after it broke down sparking off protests from stranded passengers. On Saturday, MV Pearl developed a technical glitch and suspended operations leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.
MV Pearl, the newly launched private ferry on Lake Victoria, has resumed operations two days after it broke down sparking off protests from stranded passengers.
Prim Sanyu, the KIS publicist, says it finally resumed despite facing problems over the weekend. She told URN on phone on Monday that it did not have any major problems but the passengers wanted to hurt their employees over the weekend.
Sanyu claims that after stopping at Bugoma landing site at 6pm for the technical team to maintain it, the passengers started chaos and threatened violence against them forcing them to call police for help. She however declined to explain the technical problem that MV Pearl which has just been launched suffered, saying it was minor.
On Saturday, MV Pearl developed a technical glitch and suspended operations leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. The ferry owned by Kalangala Infrastructure Services Limited (KIS) was officially launched on Friday to replace Bukakata-Luku Ferry.
But on Saturday and Sunday, MV Pearl suspended operations for some hours after breaking down at Bugoma landing site. Although it is supposed to make four round trips, it only made two trips paralyzing transport between Masaka and Kalangala districts.
The breakdown angered dozens of passengers at Bugoma landing site who were traveling to Masaka for Eid el-Fitr prayers.
Shaban Mutebi, a taxi driver who was one of the affected passengers, says hundreds of people failed to cross over to Masaka for Eid al-fitr festivities, while a few used boats after MP Pearl stopped operations. He explains that according to the old ferry program, they expected it to stop operations after 8pm and that is why by 6pm, they were already at Bugoma waiting for the final route.
He says they were surprised to see MV Pearl halting operations at exactly 6pm.
Godfrey Matte, the Kalangala District Police Commander who intervened to restore order, says police found when passengers were threatening to vandalize vehicles owned by MV Pearl and KIS employees at Bugoma. He says as a result, he convened a crisis meeting with MV Pearl management and passengers to calm the rising tension.
Matte says during the meeting, police advised KIS to draw a schedule and sensitise the masses about their travel arrangements. He says police also advised KIS to put radio announcements to let the passengers know the travel program instead of leaving them in suspense when they stop operations.
Sanyu says KIS is drawing up a schedule for MV Pearl to avoid further confusion and chaos in future.
MV Pearl was officially launched on Friday to replace Bukakata-Luku ferry which has been operating for the last 17 years. According to Ibrahim Byandala, the Works and Transport Minister, Government pays KIS five billion shillings every year to offer free operations between Bukakata landing site in Masaka and Bugoma landing site in Kalangala.
mv pearl breakdown
water transport to kalangala
bukakata ferry relocation