The government statement has come after two years of silence since the ferryboat was grounded for ‘intense maintenance’ soon after its trial test.
Speaking to The Guardian in a telephone interview, the Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Engineer Edwin Ngonyani, said it was discovered that the boat had failed to sail at the recommended speed as per agreed specifications.
The deputy minister noted that during the first trial, the boat sailed for over three hours between Dar es Salaam to Bagamoyo, contrary to initial agreement, which was one- and-half hours.
The boat was supposed to sail at a speed of 20 knots which leads to one- and half hour from Dar es Ssalaam to Bagamoyo, a contract specification where the Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency (TEMESA) was commissioned to build a 300 passengers boat at 8bn/-.
“The issue is already in the mandate of legal experts to ensure that all the prerequisites are met as per agreement before handing over the vessel after mechanical systems are approved. Once it is over the public will be informed on further steps forward,” he said.
Engineer Ngonyani explained that up to now the facility was still in the ownership of the manufacturers as it was not easy to accept something that missed important specifications.
He emphasized that it was not an easy task to accept the vessel while the idea to eliminate traffic congestion in the city would be not be met with a vessel that tires passengers.
Agreement with Temesa had it that MV Dar es Salaam-Bagamoyo was to have a maximum speed of 20 knots, meaning it would have spent approximately one-and-a-half hours sailing between Bagamoyo and Dar es Salaam ports.
However, during its first trial run from Dar es Salaam to Bagamoyo, the ferry covered the distance in slightly over three hours despite having no cargo and carrying only about half its passenger capacity, going nonstop.
This meant that the boat could hardly make two return trips per day, raising concern that the project would prove to be a white elephant.
However, before it arrived in the country, the vessel was inspected by engineers from Temesa and the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra)
Serious queries emerged after the Controller ad Auditor General’s Report released last year discovered that there was rot in the Dar es Salaam ferry boat purchase.
The report revealed that the purchase was undertaken without regard to public procurement requirements since it did not meet pre-requisite specification, standards and did not comply with the purchaser’s requirements.
The government, through the Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Service Agency (Temesa) went on to commission a Danish-based company, JGH, to supply the 300-passenger ferryboat to ply between Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo at $4,980,000 (about Sh8 billion).
The contract period was agreed to be eight months starting from April 25, 2013 and was later extended to October 31, 2014.
The CAG Report said that an expert inspection report noted that the maximum and minimum speed during sea trials was observed to be 19.45 and 17.25 knots respectively contrary to the agreed contract speed of 20 knots and the goods acceptance certificate was yet to be issued.
The ferryboat was handed over to Temesa on November 17, 2014 after a delay of 16 days without the goods acceptance certificate that the public procurement regulatory procedures require.
At the time of audit in August last year, nearly a year after handing over the goods, the certificate of acceptance was yet to be issued to the supplier contrary to the Public Procurement Regulatory (PPR), 2013, the CAG report added.