By Rex Chiguduli
Mota Engil has announced that a new passenger ship will start its services on lake Malawi soon, a development that will improve water transport for the country.
Currently Malawians are relying on the ageing MV Ilala water vessel which is the only reliable water transport facility.
Mota Engil is the company that won the water transport concession tender from the government of Malawi that aims at revamping water transport sector in Malawi under the Malawi Shipping Company services.
Speaking in an interview, Mota Engil Consultant and Advisor for Marine Services Austin Msowoya said the company is investing $8.5 million for the water vessel.
According to Msowoya, once completed the ship will have 120 passenger capacity and 20 tonnes for cargo space.
He said the ship which is called MV Chilembwe will bring convenient passenger traveling experience as it will have reasonable speed double that of MV Ilala ship.
On the expected time for the ship to commence its operations on the lake, Msowoya said they expect the ship to sail on the lake between end May or early June this year.
“The current status is that the hull is almost complete, work is going on smoothly on the assembling of the main deck and wheel house, after this they will begin putting in engines and navigation equipment including the wiring of the ship itself, so I can say we have done almost 75 percent of the assembling work required.
“The particulars of the ship include that she is 33 meters long, 9 meters beam and will actually move at a speed of close to 20 notes which is quite a very high speed that people will be pleased with, she will carry 120 passengers with very good accommodation and 20 metric tonnes of cargo”, said Msowoya.
Msowoya said the ship has the highest level of safety as it’s engineers are following all the required international regulations covering the safety of passenger vessels.