Jun 18, 2009, 7:34 AM
News that the Gambia Ports Authority in collaboration with the ferry services and the Joint Operations Committee (JOC) task force committee is set to hold a simulation exercise on safety is indeed a good one and timely.
The committee comprising members of various institutions is mandated to ensure the safety and security of lives and goods on board the ferries and canoes crossing the Barra-Banjul river crossing point, authorities said.
Of recent, concerns have been raised over the sea-worthiness of some of the ferries plying between Banjul and Barra due to the number of hours a ferry spends crossing from one side of the river to the other.
We have over the years stated in these pages that an efficient transportation network is indispensable to the realisation of the government’s Vision 2020 objectives, but only if urgent actions are taken to put right both major and minor loopholes in the operations of the ferry services in this country, within a reasonably short time.
Recent happenings in our ferries, especially while they are moving between Banjul and Barra, have pointed out again the need to make our ferry services much safer, in the interest of humanity.
Of recent, there have been a lot of complaints by people, most of whom use the ferries on a daily basis, about the condition and the time it takes the ferries plying the Banjul-Barra river crossing.
It is our view that though the ferries bring in a lot of revenue, on a daily basis, the GPA should and must be seen to take immediate steps to put aside any ferry that is no longer safe for use by the travelling public.
Indeed, many are sceptical about the safety of the ferries, and complaints are frequently heard about the present condition of the ferries in causing “delay at both terminals, particularly for vehicles”.
Though we have been told that work on the construction of the ramps for the new ferries are at an advanced stage, we believe that there is still more to be done.
The management of the GPA should put every safety measure in place in our ferries, to give the passengers crossing a reasonable degree of assurance that the ferries they board are perfectly safe. This is the feeling all around, at the moment particularly as we approach this year’s Tobaski feast.
The GPA should and must be seen to take further steps to put aside any ferry that is no longer safe for use by the travelling public, and nothing should be taken for granted.
The overriding consideration should be the safety of the people!
“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”