By Nelson Manneh
Foroyaa has been fully informed by the Public Relations Officer of the Gambia Ports Authority, GPA, Mr. Momodou L. Sanyang, that the new ferry ‘Kunta Kinteh,’is in best condition ever. Mr. Sanyang made these statements to this medium when contacted by our reporter on pertinent questions from the public, regarding the operations and frequent parking of the new ferry. Almost all the passengers spoken to said the same thing and that is the ferry is parked during low tide, whilst the other ferries are able to operate normally.
This Foroyaa reporter visited the terminal in Banjul on Thursday, 13th July 2017, and was able to confirm the story. Mariama Bah, who resides in Barra, is a student attending Gambia Senior Secondary school and crosses daily to attend classes at the above named school. Mariama said since the new ferry started operations, she has never encountered difficulties and was also never late for lessons. That she always gets late when she find the old ferries operating. She also said the new ferry is always parked when the tide is low, whilst the other ferries continue operation, and was in doubt as to the reason(s) why.
Babucarr Joof, is a businessman and regular commuter and user of the ferry because he has business to do in Banjul. Baboucarr also expresses his doubt as to the reason(s) why the ferry is parked during low tides, whilst other ferries continue operating. “Personally I thought that the ferry has a problem. I never asked but that is what I suspected. The ferry does not operate during low tides and I don’t know why. The other two old ferries are the ones that normally operate during low tides,” he told this reporter. These and numerous other passengers and commuters of the Banjul / Barra crossing point express the same statement, making it necessary for this reporter to take up matters with the PRO of the GPA, to shed light and clarify matters regarding the new ferry.
In response to these comments from passengers and other commuters of the said crossing point, PRO Sanyang said the reason hindering the operation of the Kunta Kinteh ferry during low tide is that they’ve discovered from the technicians and operators that during low tide, the propeller of the ferry usually touches the soil or sea bed and it’s damage can hinder the durability of the ferry that has just been newly commissioned. PRO Sanyang emphasize that they will never allow this to happen; that this is the main reason why they decided to withdraw the new ferry from operations, whenever there is low tide.
PRO Sanyang continued: “We are after the longevity of the ferry and not for it to be operated anyhow. The public should know that the ferry is here for them. Since the other two ferries can operate during low tide, this will continue until the time when the new ferry will also be able to join them. We will safeguard the operations and management of the new ferry until the time it will be able to operate at all times.’’ PRO Sanyang added that, when there is high tide the ferry operates beyond expectation and moves even faster than expected.
“Low and high tides are natural phenomenon we do not have control over but we will always follow our technical advisers who know how well the ferry operates and at what time, in order to make sure the ferry lasts long,” he concluded.