THE much awaited two ships to be operating in Lake Victoria -- New MV Victoria ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’ and Mv Butiama, are expected to resume trips on Sunday.
The two vessels have already received permits from the regulator, Tanzania Submarine Agency Company (TASAC).
This has been done in implementation of directives issued last Sunday by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, when inspecting the rehabilitation of the 22.8bn/-New MV Victoria that is meant to facilitate marine transport across Lake Victoria.
The New MV Victoria that has a capacity of carrying 1200 passengers and luggage weighing 200 tonnes at a go, will be plying between Mwanza and Bukoba in Kagera Region, while MV Butiama that has been rehabilitated at a cost of 4.9bn/- will operate between Mwanza and Nansio, in Ukerewe island.
Addressing reporters in Mwanza yesterday, General Manager of Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL) Mr Erick Hamis, said the requisite preparations are in place for the two ships to resume operations following a successful trial journey by MV Victoria recently.
Speaking of fares for MV Victoria, Mr Hamis said tickets for economy class are sold at 16,000/-, business class 30,000 while the first class passengers will have to pay 45,000/-.
“In the past, the vessel used to spend between 12 and 13 hours on its route from Mwanza to Bukoba but now, the ship will be travelling for only six hours, thanks to modern equipment that has been installed,’’ he said.
The vessel’s repair, commissioned to KTMI Company from South Korea, cost about 22.8bn/-, whereby in 2018, the government, through the Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL), injected 152bn/- to revive three vessels and finance the construction of a slipway at Mwanza South Port in Mwanza Region.
The vessel, the largest in the Great Lakes region, measures 92.6 metres in length, 17 metres width and 11.2 metres height, replacing MV Bukoba that sank off the Mwanza Port in 1996.
The multi-billion projects are also expected to improve and expand trade between Tanzania and the neighbouring countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
The MSCL boss added that MV New Butiama ship that has a capacity for 180 passengers and 100 tonnes of cargo, has two classes - business and economy, the fares of which will be 8,000/- and 10,000/-, respectively.
Apart from facilitating transport of people, goods and services across Lake Victoria, the commencement of the two ships would also boost the tourism sector in Lake Zone regions.
The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) Lake zone officer-incharge Ms Glory Munhambo, said reliable transport is the key to attracting more tourists to the available destinations.