The Star (Nairobi)

6 October 2012

Kenya: Tanker Plunges Into Ocean, Paralyses Ferry Services

Photo: Caroline Mwakio/AllAfrica
Passengers board the ferry amid threats of workers going on strike

OPERATIONS at the Likoni crossing channel were yesterday morning paralysed after an oil truck plunged into the Indian Ocean.

The truck failed to take off on Thursday evening, blocking a second ramp on the mainland side of the channel.

The Tanzanian oil tanker, belonging to Dhandhe Transporting Company, was ferrying crude oil from the East African storage to Zambia via Lunga Lunga border.

Coast traffic commandant Joshua Omukata termed the incident a minor traffic hitch.

"The lorry plunged into the sea after it failed to ascend the cliff on its way to the mainland after the ferry landed. It has been towed to Likoni police station as we conduct investigations," said Omukata on phone.

Kenya Ferry Services managing director Musa Hassan said he was contemplating whether to sue Dhandhe for paralysing ferry operations at the channel.

"It has affected the operations at the channel and we shall have to charge the owners of the company transporting the oil." Hassan said.

He said the Kenya Ports Authority responded immediately to prevent oil spillage that might have affected aquatic life.

Traffic on both the mainland and island was affected with vehicles headed to the south coast cueing to as far as the Agha Khan Hospital junction near the Mombasa central business district.

Inside sources at the ferry servises linked the incident to sabotage by workers who had issued a strike notice that was to elapse on Saturday.

"It's true the tanker failed to ascend but it was further pushed to the ramp by the oncoming MV Kilindini ferry, pushing the tanker to the second ramp. I think the motive of pushing it to the second ramp was to affect the operations in relation to the ongoing strike," said the source.

The workers are accusing MD Hassan and his team of failing to honour an annual salary increase dating back to 2010.

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