The new ferry built by Mwanza based firm, Songoro Marine Transport has the capacity to carry 300 passengers and ten motor vehicles – equivalent to 300 tonnes.
Speaking to residents of the islands yesterday soon after commissioning of the vessel, the Minister for Works, Communication and Transport Isack Kamwelwe said the building of MV Ukara followed directives from President John Magufuli after the sinking of MV Nyerere on September 20 2018.
“The government vows to make sure that all ferries in the country are safe and reliable for passengers by regular repairs and purchase of new vessels when necessary and as budget permits,” he said.
In view of this, the government, through TEMESA continues with projects for building new ferries for Chato-Nkome/Mharamba in Lake Victoria and Nyamisati–Mafia in the Indian Ocean that are near completion.
He stressed that the government will continue strengthen operations of the ferry to avoid mishaps, a responsibility given to TASAC which has been instructed to station supervising officials at all areas served by the ferries.
For his part, the Ministry’s Permanent secretary (Works Division) Elius Mwakalinga said construction of MV Ukara II begun in February 2019 but was delayed due to late arrival of vital components from foreign because of the Covid-19 pandemic
“The building of the ferry has cost 4.2bn/- while foreign firms had asked for 22bn/-, hence you can see how patriotic this local contractor is,” said the PS.
“In the Fiscal year 2019/20 the government provided 12.24bn/- for various ferry and berth projects implemented by TEMESA,” he said.
Earlier, giving the MV Ukara II construction report TEMESA Chief Executive Officer Japhet Maselle said the vessel is 42 metres long and 10 metres wide and is fitted with two DOOSAN INFRACORE engines with 360 HP.
He said the ferry is operated by three steering systems – hydraulic, electro-hydraulic and emergency.
Completion of MV Ukara II brings the number of government ferries in the country to 31.