Mr. Jawara spoke to QTV Gambia on Thursday, revealing that due to constraints in resources, they would not be able to sustain rescue boats. He noted its part of their plans and that they have discussed with National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) to buy one for them.
He explained that the revenue from the ferries cannot sustain their operations, adding the government is not paying their subsidies, which contributes to the problems.
Dwelling on the recent incident of the Kanilai Ferry who was unable to land, he said: “Ferry service is complex. We sometimes do have difficulties. On Sunday, Kanilai left Banjul to land in Barra but the captain had missed the approach. He goes back to land again but unfortunately one of the back engines failed. The ferry came with four engines but they have started developing problems. There was a time when only one engine was functioning but we tried to have three working engines.”
He explained that there is only one engine at the back of Kanilai Ferry; and because Barra is an open place, the ferry was pushed and it got trapped in the sand. It was unable to get out because of the failed engine.
When the incident happened, passengers were unable to wait after three hours without rescue; they decided to pay locals to carry them out. However, Jawara urged that anything that happens; the passengers should wait and listen to the captain. He said there was no need for them to hurry.
Pa Dawda Sanyang, the director of Operations, also reiterated that in terms of response, there are many stakeholders including the fire services and navy. He emphasised: “We are constrained about resources that’s why we cannot respond as we wanted but we try to utilise the best options. In this case, we use the ferry we have.”