The long awaited MV Chilembwe vessel with a carrying capacity of 120 passengers and 20 tonnes of cargo has been commissioned at Monkey – Bay ship yard in Mangochi and now ready to sail on Lake Malawi.
Commissioning the vessel on Thursday, Minister of Transport and Public Works Francis Kasaila said the MV Chilembwe has come at the right time when there water transport system is facing serious challenges as a result of the breakdown of MV Illala vessel.
“The launch of this vessel is a relief to many Malawians who depend on water transport since it will help to reduce some of the problems people have been facing since the breakdown of Illala,” Kasaila said.
“Water transport sub – sector and access to efficient water transport services is considered to be an important catalyst for economic growth as it facilitates growth in other sub – sectors like tourism, manufacturing, health, education, mining and others,” Kasaila added.
He also said government is looking forward to the construction of jetties to reduce the time vessels take to load and offload at some ports like Nkhotakota and Likoma.
Kasaila, therefore, said the MV Illala has been repaired and would be back soon plying on the Lake of Malawi.
Earlier, Managing Director of Mota Engil Jose Dinis da Silva said the MV Chilembwe will improve transportation on Lake Malawi.
He said the vessel travels at a fast speed than the Illala, hinting that new vessel will start sailing on the Lake by January next year.
He added that the vessel has cost Mota Engil close to K4 billion to build.-Mana