Gambia: GAF, Others Rescue Passengers On Board Kanilai Ferry After They Spent Five Hours At Sea

Rescue teams including personnel of the Gambia Armed Forces on Friday 12th April 2024 rescued passengers, who spent five hours on board the Kanilai ferry at sea after the engine of the aforesaid ferry experienced a breakdown.

Foroyaa was reliably informed on Friday afternoon that the engine of the Kanilai Ferry (the only ferry that was operating at the Banjul-Barra ferry crossing point) was off, and the ferry which was heading towards Barra, was drifting towards Albreda.

The reporter went to the ferry terminal in Banjul and met many people lamenting that the lives of those who are on board the ferry is at the mercy of the waves.

This reporter met personnel of the National Disaster Management Agency, the Gambia Armed Forces and staff of the Gambia Ferry Services at the Banjul ferry terminal.

The bystanders said the ferry left the Banjul ferry terminal around 9:00 am heading to Barra, but it could not still reach its destination.

Maimuna Gaye, who was on board the ferry, told Foroyaa that the ferry left Banjul around 9:00 am and spent more than five hours without reaching its destination because the engine of the ferry went off and the ferry changed its course and drifted towards Albreda.

"I worked at Barra and I used the ferry on a daily basis. Since the ferry left Banjul this morning, it could not reach Barra. Whilst the ferry was moving, we realised that the engine experienced a break down because it went off and the engineers present in the ferry were not able to fix the problem. We suffered a lot because we spent more than five hours in the ferry without eating food or drinking water," she said.

She said the current government is not serving the interest of the people since they are not bothered by the condition of the ferries and that is why the ferries continue to experience such breakdowns.

"Everyone in the ferry was afraid; the children were crying all over, many people were tired because of the time we spent on board the ferry, and we did not have access to food or water," she said.

Majeng Mboob, a native of Dakar in Senegal said the ferry left the Banjul terminal around 9:00 am and up to 5:00 pm they were still in the waters and could not reach Barra.

"We thank God that all of us who were in the ferry were rescued and taken to Barra safely," he said.

The Executive Director of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) Sanna Dahaba said he was informed that the engine of the ferry experienced a breakdown at sea.

"As soon as I received the information, I contacted my NDMA team and we rushed to the scene. The Gambia Armed Forces were also present and they did a lot in rescuing the passengers on board the ferry," he said.

"The Armed Forces first sent one of their boats, but it was not able to rescue the ferry. And so we used other options to bring the ferry to Aljamdou. That was the time we were able to rescue the passengers."

Dahaba said the rescue mission was successful since the passengers were safely rescued.

"All what we can do is to inform the executive as to what happened so that they take necessary steps to address the problem."

The NDMA Boss also commended the passengers who were in the ferry for their cooperation.

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