The president of Uganda, President Museveni, is expected to commission Uganda’s largest passenger vessel in Namayingo district in eastern Uganda. This move is largely seen as a political one as President Museveni continues to canvass for votes ahead of the 2021 presidential elections in Uganda.
The 300-seater MV Sigulu is planned to connect Namayingo mainland to Sigulu and Dolwe islands in Lake Victoria. It is projected that it will help islanders have easy access to social services, reduce the cost and difficulty in transportation, boost the fishing business in those areas, and reduce the mortality rate from water accidents as a result of rickety vessels and boats.
Sigulu ferry is now Uganda’s largest passenger vessel, according to Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
“The ferry connects islanders of Sigulu and Dolwe, over 50Kms away from mainland Namayingo District, a distance previously sailed by canoes and small engine boats,” UNRA media relations manager, Mr Allan Ssempebwa said.
The vessel has all the required safety gears for the safety of its passengers. It is also built to provide comfort for the users throughout the journey. The vessel is also expected to create job opportunities directly and indirectly. It will also boost the economic activities in communities in that area.
The senior press secretary to President Museveni, Mr Don Wanyama also said that this is an added boost to the Maritime industry in Uganda. He called on the vessel staff to provide good services to its host communities.
MV Sigulu made its maiden expedition to the isolated island district in August 2020, a year after undergoing trials on Lake Victoria.
The vessel had since December 2018 docked at Walukuba-Masese Division in Jinja City, prompting questions.
MV Sigulu, a government undertaking, was constructed by JGH Marine, a Danish firm, at the cost of Shs16b to connect Sigulu and Lolwe Islands to Lugala mainland in Namayingo District.