Gambia Navy Rescues Stranded Passengers from Kanilai Ferry

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Navy rescuing stranded passengers on board the Kanilia ferry

By: Alieu Ceesay

Amid the joyful celebrations of Eid-ul-Fitr, a disquieting incident unfolded at one of The Gambia’s crucial crossing points, linking the country’s bank and capital city, Banjul. This incident highlighted the urgent need for more reliable ferry services, particularly at this frequently used crossing.

On April 12th, 2024, while Muslims gathered for Eid prayers with their families across the country, some passengers were stranded aboard the Kanilai ferry. The ferry had been experiencing limited availability and poor service for a long time, causing frustration for many travelers.

The Gambia Armed Forces (Gambia Navy) promptly responded to the distress call and successfully conducted a rescue operation. Under the directive of Chief of Defence Staff Lt Gen Mamat OA Cham, the Gambia Armed Forces ensured the safe disembarkation of all passengers from the stranded Kanilai Ferry.

CDS Cham at the Banjul Seaport

The Gambia Army Force, in a statement, highlighted the coordinated efforts of the Navy, with Deputy Chief of Defence Staff Major General Ousman Gomez and CO Gambia Navy Lt Cdr Farra Jobe leading the operation. The ferry, which had lost its route due to technical problems, was being attended to for recovery.

In a reassuring press release, the Government confirmed that all passengers had been safely disembarked from the ferry, with no reported injuries. However, this incident underscores the persistent public demand for improved ferry services, a concern the authorities have neglected despite regular pleas.

“We are pleased to report that all passengers aboard the ferry have been safely disembarked and embarked, with no reported injuries.  Immediate response measures have been activated,  with tug boards mobilized to assist in towing the ferry out during the next high tide, expected around 10:00 pm.”

Despite regular pleas, authorities have neglected persistent demand for improved ferry services.

Efforts to ensure the safety and reliability of ferry services remain imperative to prevent such incidents and alleviate the worries of travelers relying on these vital transportation links.

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