Gambia’s newest ferry, MV Kunta Kinteh is already faced with speculated mechanical issues, taken out of service for check up, Ports Authority official confirmed.
The ferry has been the people’s favorite since it was commissioned last month by the country’s President Adama Barrow. The people have now expressed shock at its grounding.
The spokesperson for the Gambia Ports Authority, the agency responsible for water transport denied there are any mechanical issues with the new ferry.
“A light in the ferry was flashing and to establish why the warning signal came on, we had to ground the ferry for engineers to look at it,” said Momodou L. Sanyang.
“We do not want to take any chances when it comes to the safety of our customers. When everything is checked by our team, the Kunta Kinteh will start operating again.”
The MV Kunta Kinteh was built by a Dutch company, Damen Shipyards and procured at an estimated €$10.9 million (D436 million dalasis) by the government of ex-leader Yahya Jammeh.
The ferry takes up to 2000 passengers without vehicles and at most 718 passengers with vehicles. It is the fastest ferry the country ever had and takes less than 20 minutes to cross the estuary between northern and southern Gambia.
Panic had gripped passengers in on Tuesday in a separate ferry, MV Kanilai after low tides made the passenger boat fall short of its anchor point, leaving commuters stranded for almost six hours.