Salone News

The Murzuk Ferry in Freetown is Stranded at Sea

10 June 2007 at 06:19 | 458 views

By Karamoh Kabba

An anxious passenger onboard a Lungi airport-bound ferry, the Murzuk, called to tell me today that their ferry is stranded at sea, that the engine went out suddenly and the ferry is smoking.

The passenger who is a government official requested for his name not to be mentioned fearing that he may be fired from his job if the SLPP-led government officials find out he supplied information about the stranded ferry to journalist owing to the fact that 21 foreign passengers had perished in a helicopter crash at Lungi airport last week.

On Sunday June 3, 2007, passengers, including the Togolese minister of sports and sports fans, perished in a decrepit helicopter that, according to the Freetown press, had been grounded by the government only to resume service without clearance before the crash on a seven-minute flight to the airport.

The Murzuk was returning to Freetown from its last trip to drop off the minister of mines of Sierra Leone, Mohamed Swaray-Deen, who is travelling to the UK on official business when the engine shut down at sea.

The worried passenger, in a shaky voice, told me: “Our ferry is stranded at sea. The engine has gone out. No one seems to know why. I really don’t know what is going to happen to us. I am afraid, especially that 21 people died in a helicopter crash last week. This country is a wreck.”

Moijue Kai Kai, a resident of London has just posted a statement on a popular Sierra Leone listserv, LTAMU, confirming that a passenger onboard a ferry in Freetown has also called him to say that they are stranded at sea.

We will bring you details as the story unfolds.

Photo: Prince Harding, Sierra Leone’s suspended Transport minister.