Passengers traveling to Adjumani and Moyo districts and other parts of the West Nile region and South Sudan are stranded after the temporary suspension of services by Laropi-Umi Ferry on Albert Nile.
The vessel temporarily halted services on Sunday night after a Kenyan fuel tanker with registration number KDB 946K/ ZD 2456 plunged into the river at Laripi Landing site in Pakoma East Cell in Laropi Town council in Moyo district while disembarking from the ferry.
Ignatius Dragudu, the North West Nile Region Police Spokesperson said that the accident occurred at around 8: 19 p.m. According to Dragudu, no injuries have been reported.
Preliminary reports indicate that at the time of the accident, the fuel tanker which was from Kenya was destined to deliver the fuel to a fuel station in KajoKeji county in the neighbouring South Sudan.
Allan Ssempebwa, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Communications Officer said that efforts are underway to retrieve the fuel tanker from the river to allow docking of the ferry and resumption of its operations.
According to Ssempebwa, they will also conduct an assessment of damages on the ferry before services can be restored for the passengers.
The accident has left several passengers stranded at the Umi and Laropi Lading sites while others hire private boats to cross despite the exorbitant charges. However, UNRA has advised travelers to use the Obongi-Sinyanya ferry to cross either to Adjumani or Moyo district.
Charles Tiondi, a resident of Adjumani district has appealed to the government to fast-track the construction of the proposed Laropi bridge to permanently address the transport challenges between Moyo and Adjumnai.
“The bridge project should kick off. We are tired of the ferry. Ferry, ferry every time”, Tiondi noted.
Arnold Alema, a passenger who was traveling to Adjumani from Kampala says that the situation forced them to use the longer Obongi-sinyanya route.
The Laropi-Umi Ferry has a capacity of 180 passengers and cargo of 120 tonnes per trip as per the Certificate of Sea Worthiness. The vessel carries an average of 1,500 to 1,800 people per day at the crossing according to information from the Ministry of Works and Transport.