Kampala, Uganda — MV Kalangala, the marine vessel plying Nakiwogo in Entebbe to Lutoboka landing site in Kalangala island has triggered complaints in the recent months ranging from inefficiency, overloading and engine defaults from travelers.
Last week, Ministry of Works and Transport issued new guidelines to Nation Oil Distributors, the private company operating the vessel cautioning them against overloading it.
MV Kalangala is supposed to carry 100 passengers but there have been reports that it has been ferrying people three times more than its capacity.
Kyamuswa County, Carol Birungi Nanyondo told Uganda Radio Network that MV Kalangala is always overloaded because it's the only vessel available for main entry and exit.
The capsizing of MV K Palm last Saturday as it sailed towards Mutima Beach due to reported overloading, Nanyondo says should be an eye opener for operators of MV Kalangala.
Accidents are accidents and they can occur anytime, Sadala Musoke, the Managing Director of Nation Oil Distributors, the private company operating MV Kalangala told Uganda Radio Network recent in an interview. The vessel has briefly suspended operations several times this year due to engine defaults.
But cognisant of risks, Musoke said the vessel moves with engineers all the time. These engineers he says are supposed to detect any mechanical default.
Travelers, Musoke says should be considerate for the vessel that moves daily for the whole year. He says people should not over complain when the vessel gets engine defaults.
Musoke further says the vessel is usually docked for annual maintenance. He says MV Kalangala is regularly taken for maintenance not because it's always faulty but because it is a requirement.
All vessels are supposed to have rescue boats on standby as per the international requirement. However, MV Kalangala has no rescue boat that can swiftly respond in case of any problem.
An official familiar with operation of MV Kalangala told URN that the engine of the rescue boat fell in water two years and the remaining parts were dismembered and sold as scrap.
Amon Ndangizi, a marine engineer in the Ministry of Works and Transport says; "current MV Kalangala rescue boat is old and no longer economical to repair. The Ministry has initiated the process of procuring a new one."