UNRA Closes Namasale –Zengebe Ferry Route on Lake Kyoga

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In short
Uganda National Road Authority UNRA has temporarily closed Namasale Zengebe ferry route on Lake Kyoga after all the two ferries operating on this route broke down. Mark Ssali, UNRAs Director for Communication says MV Kyoga I vessel first broke down two weeks ago before the new MV Kyoga II broke down on Wednesday.

Uganda National Road Authority (UNRA) has temporarily closed Namasale - Zengebe ferry route on Lake Kyoga after all the two ferries operating on this route broke down.

In a statement issued on Thursday, UNRA says the route is currently temporary closed to enable them conduct emergency repairs of the two ferries.

Mark Ssali, UNRA's Director for Communication says MV Kyoga I vessel first broke down two weeks ago before the new MV Kyoga II broke down on Wednesday.

Ssali said a team of engineers from UNRA were dispatched to Lake Kyoga on Wednesday and that repair work is already under way. He said whereas the route is expected to open anytime, in the meantime UNRA advises the public to use Masindi Port ferry via Apac - Lira - Dokolo - Amolatar alternative route.

The Zengebe - Namasale ferries serve the neighbouring districts of Kaberamaido, Dokolo, Amolatar, Amuria and parts of Soroti. Most people especially businessmen from these areas access Kampala through this ferry route.

The latest development has left many travellers stranded and frustrated.

Peter Esau, a trader from Kaberamaido had travelled up to Lake Kyoga on his way to Kampala, only to find that the route had been closed.

Easu jeered on sighting the long queue of vehicles and huge piles of merchandise of traders who were stranded at the docking site at Namasale in Amolatar. Frustrated, he made a u-turn to take the longer Dokolo-Lira-Nakasongola route a distance of almost 400 kilometres instead of the 200 kilometres if he had used the ferry.

Denis Okello, travelling to Kampala says he has been at the lake since 9:00am with hope that the ferries would be repaired faster so as they can cross the lake but in vain. He says hope has faded and was considering travelling back to use the Masindi port ferry.

MV Kyoga I was launched in December 2012 while MV Kyoga II vessel has since been on a test drive.  The two 400 Horse Power Engine ferry were built at a cost of 3.7 million dollars, approximately 12.4 billion shillings, by a Danish Company Johs Gram- Hanssen - Wesern Marine Shipyard.

At 16.7 kilometres per hour, the new ferry travels twice the speed of MV Kyoga I whose speed is 8.33 kilometres an hour and takes one hour and 10 minutes to cross the 9.1 kilometre lake stretch from Namasale in Amolatar district to Zengebe in Nakasogola.

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.