By Mustapha Jarju
The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) is currently procuring a new ferry to Strengthen Safety of Passengers and easy transportation between Banjul and Barra.
In an interview with this medium, Yankuba Manneh, the Media and Communication officer of Gambia Port Authority said, “Certainly the timeline for the delivery of that new ferry will be somewhere December 2024, which will burst the capacity of the Gambia Ferry Service because it will be a new ferry that will be adding to the existing numbers of ferries we have.”
He also said the GPA is currently reviewing the two bids that they received so far from the internationals, and the new ferry will help in bursting the service delivery system of transportation of people good and service to carter for the growing demand of ferry service by connecting the people from the Northern Gambia and Banjul.
He noted that the ferry management is very much concern and particular about the welfare of their passengers, that’s why every day before the ferries start work we ensure the suitability of the ferries are guaranteed.
Meanwhile, Manneh highlighted some of the challenges they faced when it comes to issues that cause technical problems of the ferries saying “what make the ferry engine not to last long is caused by the economic activity carryout by the fishermen. The fisher folks in the sea would sometimes make their fishing net traps on the navigational channel of the ferries, this nets used to be in the water which is invisible by the Captains.”
According to him when the fishing net gets on hold the ferry proposal system it cost them capital damage on the ferries and these are problems that they are facing. He therefore calls on the fishing folks around Barra and Banjul to avoid making their fishing traps on the ferries navigational channel.
“Another challenge that we are faced with is the sea condition around the Banjul end is different from that of Barra because towards Barra there are stones beneath the water with sand in other areas that is why when the sea level is low it affects the ferry at the Barra end, which is a challenge for the Ferry Service.,” Manneh explained.