Fishermen at the Shella Beach in Malindi Sub County of Kilifi County have called on the government to rehabilitate the Malindi Jetty to make it safer for users.
Led by the Chairman of the Shella Beach Management Unit (BMU), Yunus Aboud Sahe, the fishermen said the jetty was a danger in waiting since it was dilapidated.
A jetty is a landing stage or small pier at which boats can dock or be moored, although the Malindi one, in addition to its designated use is often used by residents and holiday makers to view the ocean.
Sahe, who was speaking to the Kenya News Agency at the jetty on Wednesday, said most of the rails on the sides of the vessel-docking facility had fallen off and the few remaining ones were rusty, shaky and dangerous to lean on.
His sentiments come barely two days after two people riding on a motorcycle on the jetty at night plunged into the Indian Ocean and died.
It is believed the two sped on the jetty but the motorcyclist discovered too late that he had reached the end of the jetty, which did not have any guardrails to prevent them from plunging into the sea.
Their bodies and the motorcycle were discovered by fishermen on Tuesday morning. One of the bodies was buried in sea weeds and was discovered when a fisherman stumbled on it about 200 metres from the Vasco Da Gamma Pillar.
The motorcycle was found a few meters from the end of the jetty while the bodies were found between 300 meters and 400 meters from the jetty after being washed away by sea waves.
Motorcycle’s skid marks about two meters from the end of the jetty made police officers to conclude that the victims died on impact, thus ruling out foul play.
“I call upon the county and national governments to immediately construct guardrails along the edges of the jetty, including the end, which is deep inside the sea,” Mr. Sahe said.
A tour of the jetty revealed that most of the metallic guardrails had been removed from the edges, while the few remaining ones were rickety and could easily fall off with a slight leaning.
The end of the jetty has had no kind of protection, and Sahe said the government, through the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), to consider putting guardrails on it as they repair the others.
The tour however, revealed that the pillars supporting the 500-meter long facility were strong and there were no indications that it could collapse under heavy weights.
The facility is used by fishermen and other seafarers to load and offload cargo (mostly fish) from large vessels that dock there.
Hundreds of holiday makers, especially during weekends and festive seasons such as Christmas, throng the jetty to relax and the absence of guardrails could be disastrous.
Sahe suggested that the public should be barred from accessing the jetty at night as this would be dangerous, saying motorcycles should not be allowed on the facility.
“I suggest that the jetty becomes a restricted between dusk and dawn to avoid a disaster like the one that befell the two motorcycle riders,” he said. “Motorcycles should also not be allowed onto the jetty as the riders could lose control and plunge into the sea.”
The however, said it would not be proper to restrict the movement of people at the jetty, but asked users to be more cautious.
By Emmanuel Masha