Passengers ferrying from Barra to Banjul terminal were yesterday stricken with fear and panic after the ‘Kanilai’ ferry failed to anchor at Banjul terminal, spending several hours in the waters.

The Kanilai ferry which was named after the birthplace of the former President Yahya Jammeh, was transporting hundreds of passengers, goods and vehicles from Barra to Banjul when it stuck in the waters.

The incident  was allegedly caused by the low tide of the sea, causing fear in many of the passengers on board. Some of them started to call their loved ones out of devastations as the port officials looked for mechanisms to resolve the situation.

The Public Relation of the Gambia Ports Authority, Momodou L. Sanyang confirmed said the incident was caused by the low tide of the sea.

“Many people have the believed that the ferry has a problem which is not the case. It was as a result of low tide. It came up to the ram at the Banjul Terminal but find it difficult to anchor,” Spokesperson Sanyang said.

He added that the ferry was grounded by the low tide as the propeller could not moved because of the soil on the ground. He explained that efforts were made to push the ferry to anchor but it failed saying it was a natural phenomenon. He said they used to take information from the weather focus but this incident was not expected.

“The GPA Management is on high gear towards a provision of sectional derringer to solve the low tide problem,” he said.

Mr. Sanyang said the Managing Director himself including some senior management were at the terminal when the incident happened to help until the passengers came out of the ferry.

Asked to explained whats halting the operations of the new Kunta Kinteh Ferry that was commissioned by the President of the Republic Adama Barrow in last two months, Sanyang said: “The Kunta Kinteh Ferry is not plying at the moment. It was showing red light signals which we did not know the reason. We did not want to take risk and experts were called to look at it”.

The Kunta Kinteh Ferry was purchased at Damen Shipyards in Holland with a total cost of €9, 338, 900 Euros under a supplier credit facility agreement. It has a capacity of 2000 passengers without vehicles or a capacity of 718 passengers with vehicles. It also has a 3 years warranty.