By Ivan Mwine
Several travellers in Entebbe municipality, among them tourists who were planning to travel to Kalangala Islands and surrounding Islands are stranded after the Ministry of Works and Transport announced that the MV Kalangala is to be grounded.
The MV Kalangala is the only water vessel that connects Kalangala Islands with other parts of Uganda via Nakiwogo Landing Site in Entebbe.
However, as of February 25th, the MV Kalangala ferry will halt operation such that it can undergo periodic maintenance and servicing, although the period this will take is not yet known.
This development was revealed by Ms. Susan Kataike, the head of Communication and Public Relations at ministry of Works and Transport.
“MV Kalangala that plies the Nakiwogo- Kalangala route will temporarily cease operations on 25th February 2022 to undergo scheduled docking survey & maintenance for one month. During the same period an alternative ferry will be provided to ply this route,” Kataike tweeted.
We have since established however that the Ministry has new ferry earmarked for the Entebbe-Kalangala route.
Nation Oil Distributors Limited (NODL) which currently operates MV Kalangala on behalf of ministry of Works and Transport will also operate the new ferry currently docked at Port Bell, Luzira.
Sadala Musoke, the chief executive officer NODL, said the new ferry dubbed MV NODL will complement MV Kalangala to meet the increasing demand over the years.
Musoke said NODL’s contract with the ministry of Works requires it to among others; provide an alternative water vessel when MV Kalangala is away for routine maintenance, in times of accidents or when there is an overwhelming number of travellers.
“This new ferry was long overdue because MV Kalangala has to undergo mandatory survey beginning of December because it has operated with the same gearbox since 2005. The gearbox must be replaced and this will take two weeks. So, we must get this new ferry on the water soon,” Musoke said.
It should be noted that in the absence of MV Kalangala, travellers and business people who ply the route and want to use their vehicles resort to MV Ssese and MV Pearl ferries at Bukakata in Masaka, which increases the cost for traveling from Entebbe to Masaka before connecting to Kalangala.