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GAMBIA: THERE IS A GOOD REASON WHY THE GAMBIA’S FERRIES ARE CALLED FLOATING COFFINS

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I was in the ferry yesterday that stuck in the waters for nearly 5 hours. We departed Banjul some minutes to 3 and we disembarked from the ferry at Barra some minutes to 8,a journey that normally takes 45 minutes or less. Our ferry services is poor, the fleets are very old. In the middle of the water when I suspect the uneasiness of the crew, I went up and asked, if everything is okay? They said yes. The second time I asked after another 2 hours, now they confessed everything is not okay, the two engines are dead and the other two engines are weak ,so therefore we cannot move until the other ferry come and pull us. The other ferry came after few hours and that one also stuck due to heavy sand under. In my mind disaster was imminent, now how do we avert it? What makes me so sad and worry is the lack of presence of rescue teams like fire service ,navy patrol boats among others. Are we really a serious nation? The presence of rescue team should be Immediate and effective but instead it was the villagers who were lifting people out of the ferry at a price of D100 person. My worry is, the frequent commuters of this route told me this happens very frequently now. So are we waiting to see thousands of people drowned in the sea before we can react to this seemingly disaster in the our sea?

Hon. Yaya Menteng Sanyang

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