Barely twelve months after passengers travelling on Lake Malawi struggled to board or off load goods at Nkhata Bay jetty due to its collapse last year, the jetty on Friday night sunk again due to strong north easterly winds that blew.
The jetty was constructed in 1957, and many observers argue that it has outlived its lifespan since it has never undergone serious renovations apart from last year only.
This time around, it is the pontoon (part which is used as a surface area or base to ferry people), which has completely sunk, after the strong chains that hold it broke due to the heavy winds.
Nkhata Bay district Port operations manager Francis Makalani said the winds completely tore apart the holding chains leading to its loosening and sunk.
“We had very strong north easterly winds on Thursday night and the winds tore apart the chains that help to hold and suspend the pontoon.
After the chains tore, the support or base (pontoon) started to sink because of the water which was entering it from the bottom side.
Currently the pontoon has completely sunk and it’s a worrisome situation especially considering that last year around the same period we also faced a similar scenario, ”said Makalani.
The port operations manager further said the situation is worrisome since its only less than twelve months when the jetty almost was went through a complete rehabilitation after collapsing.
He however said as of today(Saturday),officials are on the way from Lilongwe and Mangochi to strategies on the way forward since this is an issue that needs very urgent attention.
“As am talking to way, officials from Malawi Shipping Company, who are concessionaire of the port are coming here to assess and strategize on the best way forward as you know this is a very busy port, ”explained Makalani.
He further as a temporary measure, ships docking at the jetty will now be using either their motor boats or private boats to ferry passengers from a docking point to the shore.
“We again used the same last year despite it being costly since some people will be coughing out from their pockets to pay the private boats, ”explained Makalani.
Last year after the jetty collapsed, Makalani told Malawi News Agency that the jetty has really outlived its lifespan.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :