THE government through its marine firm, Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL) has injected 152bn/- in reviving three vessels and financing the construction of a slipway at Mwanza South Port in Mwanza region.
Speaking yesterday in Mwanza on the status of the projects, MSCL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eric Hamis said an ambitious project of constructing a mega ship to be named ‘MV Mwanza-Hapa Kazi Tu has reached 50 per cent of its implementation.
The mega ship, with the capacity to carry 1,200 passengers, 400 tonnes of cargo, 20 small vehicles and three trucks, is expected to cost US dollars 39m ( about 89.7bn/- ).
It will operate on Lake Victoria waters upon completion.
According to Mr Hamisi, the government has already paid 40 per cent of the total cost of the project.
The vessel, which will be the largest in Great Lakes region, measures 92.6 metres in length, 17 metres width and 11.2 metres height.
The construction of the 3,500-tonne vessel is being undertaken by Gas Entec, Kangnam Corporation, both from South Korea and SUMA JKT. The duration of the project is 24 months.
While on a campaign trail in 2015, President John Magufuli promised to build a new ship to replace MV Bukoba which was involved in a tragic accident 1996.
Another project currently under implementation is the major overhaul (major rehabilitation) of MV Victoria which ceased its operation in 2014.
The vessel, which was built in 1960, will have its two engines, three generators, pumps and seats replaced with new ones.
The MSCL boss said the vessel will be fixed with digital and automated navigation equipment similar to those used in today’s world in marine transport.
Its plates (body parts) will also be replaced with new ones before painting it.
The 22.8bn/- project whose implementation has reached 65 per cent is carried out by KTMI Company from South Korea and it is expected to be completed next March.
MV Butiama, according to Mr Hamisi, is also lined up for renovation by the same KTMI Company from South Korea at the cost of 4.9bn/-.
The ship will also undergo major rehabilitation similar to MV Victoria.
The fourth project whose cost is 36bn/- involves the construction of slipway, a work that is being done by STX Engine and Saekyung Corporation.
The slipway simply refers to a workshop where ships can be brought for rehabilitation or maintenance.
Mr Hamis said the construction of the 4000-tonne capacity slipway has reached 68 per cent of its construction and is expected to be completed in March next year.
According to Mr Hamisi, this is the first time the government has dished out such a huge amount of money to service marine transport.
Upon completion of the ongoing projects, MSCL will proceed with the revival of other vessels to exploit the growing market in marine transport in major lakes, MSCL Chief Executive Officer said.
He further revealed that the marine firm will in future build two wagon ferries to cater for the growing demand in cargo transport.
Currently, MSCL has one wagon ferry that plies between Mwanza and Uganda. He said future business plans involve ships, including cargo vessels to operate on India Ocean.