A South African firm water projects has been contracted to work on the dormant MV Dar es Salaam-Bagamoyo ferryboat which remains grounded after its first trial test failed to reach a top speed of 20 knots as required by the government.
Fresh details revealed in the National Assembly yesterday by Works, Transport and Communication Deputy Minister Engineer Edwin Ngonyani show that the Danish firm JGH Marine, which was contracted through the Tanzanian Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Service Agency (TEMESA) had commissioned a South African firm to carry out an intensive maintenance on the boat.
"The firm will repair the speed and other technical hitches to meet the specifications as stipulated in the contract," the deputy minister said, declining to reveal the name of the new firm. According to the deputy minister, the contractor had not officially handed-over the boat to the government and will cover the repairing costs.
During the first trial, from Dar es Salaam to Bagamoyo, the boat sailed for over three hours against the agreed one and half hours. The 300-seater ferry that cost 8bn/- was supposed to sail at the speed of 20 knots but it went below 15 knots contrary to the contract specification.
The parliamentary committee had described the boat as substandard although it was expected to reduce congestion between Dar es Salaam and the historical town, Bagamoyo.
A lawmaker Mr Khatibu Haji (Kode-CUF) had earlier suggested in the august house that the grounded boat be deployed to ferry passengers and goods between Tanga and Pemba.
He reasoned that the current Sealink 2 ship is likely to fall in the same trap as other previous operators who failed to service the area owing to high operational costs.
"Azam Marine has introduced routes between Tanga and Pemba but many previous operators suspended services due to operating costs. It's high time the government deployed MV Dar es Salaam to link the two sides," he suggested.