PEOPLE travelling between Ukara and Bugorora in Ukerewe District in Mwanza Region now have reason to smile, as the government has completed the construction of a 100 tonne ferry that will have the capacity of carrying 300 passengers per trip.
The project follows directives issued by President John Magufuli after the MV Nyerere ferry capsized in September 2018, claiming the lives of over 200 people while several others were injured.
After MV Nyerere capsized, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa visited Ukerewe District, where he gave directives to the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications tohasten the process of engaging a contractor to construct a new ferry with a double passenger capacity.
In an interview with the 'Daily News' recently, Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency (TEMESA), Mwanza Regional Manager, Engineer Hassan Karonda, said construction of the new ferry had been com- pleted, and that it would start operations by the end of this month or early next month.
The vessel will operate between Bugorora and Ukara in Ukerewe District, replacing MV Nyerere that had a capacity to carry 100 passengers and 25 tonnes of cargo.
According to Eng Karonda, the new vessel will have the capacity to carry 100 tonnes and 300 passengers.
In this regard, Eng Karonda remarked, after the new ferry becomes operational, the two vessels that are currently ferrying people between Bugorora and Ukara will be relocated to other areas to provide services to different islands within Lake Victoria.
The two vessels are MV Ukara which has the capacity of 70 passengers and 15 tonnes of cargo and MV Sabasaba which needs rehabilitation as it was built during the 1970s, according to Eng Karonda.
During an interview with this newspaper, TEMESA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Engineer Japhet Maselle, said that his agency was fully committed to ensuring that the services provided were efficient enough to make sure that people didn't face any transport problems.
At Bugorora area, resi- dents received the news of the new ferry delightfully, saying that their businesses would grow at a fast speed.
"I am sure that I will be able to increase customers at my grocery because while passengers would be waiting for transport, they would come buy drinks here to quench their thirst," said Paulina Mgaya who owns a grocery at Bugorora.