PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has issued a two-day ultimatum for the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (TASAC) to release the licence to the New MV Victoria ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’ ship for it to start operating with immediate effect.
Mr Majaliwa made the directive yesterday after inspecting the construction of the ship that is meant to facilitate transportation of people and goods across Lake Victoria -between Mwanza and Bukoba.
He insisted that the ship should start operation within this week, following completion of its construction some weeks ago.
“The ship should start operation as soon as possible because everything is ready, it shouldn’t be parking here because it’s a loss for the government as it has already consumed,” he noted.
The vessel’s repair, commissioned to KTMI Company from South Korea, cost about 22.8bn/- , where in 2018, the government through its marine firm, Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL) injected 152bn/- to revive three vessels and finance the construction of a slipway at Mwanza South Port in Mwanza region.
The project also involved the construction of another new ship in Lake Victoria at 89.7bn/- with a capacity to carry 1,200 passengers, 400 tonnes of cargo, 20 small vehicles and three trucks.
The vessel, which will be the largest in the Great Lakes region, measures 92.6 metres in length, 17 metres width and 11.2 metres height, replacing MV Bukoba that was involved in the tragic accident in 1996.
“I have seen the rehabilitation work that has been done here, including the new engine, there is no doubt that the ship is now ready for the work, an outstanding job has been done on reviving this vessel,” he explained.
“All these have become possible due to the proper vision of President John Magufuli and the implementation of the CCM manifesto of the 2015 general election,” added the Premier.
Mr Majaliwa also inspected the construction of port raft and expressed satisfaction on the progress, asking Tanzanians to continue trusting the government on various development projects.
The multi-billion projects are also expected to improve and expand trade between Tanzania and the neighbouring countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
Earlier, the manager of strategic projects that are implemented by the Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL) Lieutenant Colonel Vitus Mapunda said apart from MV Victoria and the raft, the company is also constructing the MV Mwanza, MV Butiama at a cost of 152.9bn/-.
According to him, the construction of Mv Butiama that has a capacity of carrying 200 passengers and 100 tonnes of cargo costing 4.8bn/- and it will be operating between Mwanza North port and Nansio in Ukerewe. The construction of the raft is worth 36.1bn/-.
He said, completion of the projects would open many employment opportunities and ease the cost of transportation as well as boosting productivity among Tanzanians. The projects are expected to be completed in August 2021.
The construction of the 3,500-tonne MV Victoria vessel was undertaken by Gas Entec and Kangnam Corporation, all from South Korea and SUMA JKT.
The ship will operate at a minimum speed of 14 nautical miles per hour and a maximum of 16 knots, plying between Mwanza-Bukoba, Mwanza -Musoma and some ports in Kenya and Uganda.
The projects are in line with the fulfillment of President John Magufuli’s 2015 general election pledge that a new ship would be constructed to replace MV Bukoba that in 1996 had an accident in the lake.