Major operation to recover the bodies of two victims of Sunday’s Likoni ferry tragedy in Mombasa resumed Thursday morning.
The operation being spearheaded by a multi-agency rescue team was delayed due to heavy rains that pounded the coastal city in the morning hours.
The Government Spokesman Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna told the media during a regular briefing that the rescue team will concentrate on the remaining nine possible points where the sunken vehicle might be located.
He said the team on Wednesday established 14 possible locations but after hours of underwater searching, five of these points were inspected and found other objects and not the vehicle.
“The rescue team will be zeroing on the remaining nine possible locations and we are hoping for positive results,” said Col Oguna who was flanked by area (Likoni) Member of Parliament Mishi Mboko, Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) Chairman Dan Mwazo, Managing Director Bakari Gowa and other top government officials.
Col Oguna said the rains have delayed the operation but said the team was ready to continue with the recovery mission which had entered its fourth day.
He said the government has put in place the necessary machinery and resources to recover bodies of 35 year-old Mariam Kighenda and her four year-old daughter Amanda Mutheu who submerged in the Indian Ocean after their vehicle veered off from a ferry and plunged into the sea on Sunday evening.
Meanwhile, Ms Mboko commended the government efforts to recover the bodies and asked area residents and Kenyans to be patient saying the operation was a complex exercise.
She noted the operation was being affected by visibility challenges, huge shipping and passenger traffic, and muddy water occasioned by the dredging of Mombasa Port for expansion purposes.
“We must appreciate that the government has dedicated adequate resources and personnel to recover the bodies. We must stand together and remain prayerful and optimistic for positive results,” said the Lawmaker.
She said at the moment Kenyans should avoid apportioning blame and extend their support to the family of the two victims which is going through difficult period.
However, Ms Mboko challenged the government to allocate more funding to Kenya Ferry Services to enable it maintain her ferry fleets and offer efficient services to commuters and motorists.
“The ferries must be improved because they serve not only Mombasa residents but the entire East African region,” said the MP.
The Legislator said she will lobby other coastal leaders to push the government to provide adequate funds for the operations of both Likoni and Mtongwe ferries in her constituency.
Ms Mboko also urged ferry users both commuters and motorists to observe safety regulations to prevent accidents which could be easily avoided.
Mr Mwazo said KFS welcomes private support in the recovery efforts but must work under the command of Kenya Navy which is coordinating the rescue mission.
By Mohamed Hassan