CONSTRUCTION of the state-of-the art ship has now reached 25 per cent, with overall supervisor, Engineer Abel Gwanafyo of Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL) asserting that the modern vessel will be in operation next September.
The new ship to be named ‘MV Mwanza-Hapa Kazi Tu’ with the capacity to carry 1,200 passengers, 400 tonnes of cargo, 20 small vehicles and three trucks is being built in Mwanza at a cost of 39million US dollars (89.7bn/-).
The vessel, which will be the largest in the Great Lakes region, measures 92.6 metres in length, 17 metres width and 11.2 metres height. It will operate on Lake Victoria upon completion, replacing MV Bukoba which was involved in a tragic accident in 1996.
“About 219 out of 300 containers of the building materials (cuts) are already at the site after being shipped from South Korea, and the other 14 have already arrived at the Dar es Salaam Port, pending transportation processes.
“It is a multipurpose ship as apart from passengers and cargo shipping the vessel under construction will also be hired for tourism purposes and other social ceremonies,” Mr Gwanafyo said.
The supervisor noted that the vessel is designed to serve all people, by putting in place friendly infrastructure for people with disabilities, banking services as well as a dispensary, especially for expectant mothers.
Apart from operating in the same destinations being plied by the new Mv Victoria Hapa Kazi Tu ship, the modern vessel will also serve in some regional routes to Port Bell (Uganda) and Kisumu in Kenya.
Expounding further, Mr Gwanafyo said the construction project has created over 1,000 direct and indirect jobs that have been grabbed by Tanzanian youths.
Also, Tanzanians have been learning advanced skills on ship building by using modern technologies being brought by South Korean contractors, a move that will help the country save maintenance costs after completion of the project.
“For instance, we are applying carbon-dioxide technology on welding activities, and not the outdated arc type (of welding). The new technology makes the best look of the ship’s seam,” he said.
Adding, “Modern technology is being applied in various stages of the work, be it in water and electricity engineering, pipeline installation and painting, and as a result, Tanzanians with different professions are benefiting from knowledge and skills transfer.”
The aim, he said, is to have enough local experts who will be involved in ship building activities without external support, given the fact that the government is set to rehabilitate and build many more ships.
In another development, Mr Gwanafyo revealed that MSCL is set to introduce a ship building factory in the near future, and that the plant will be staffed by workers who have obtained skills from the ongoing project.
He said that is why they have involved one local contractor- Suma JKT to work together with the two foreign firms, Gas-Entec and Kangnam both from South Korea.
For his part, the MSCL Acting Marketing and Commercial Manager, Mr Philemon Bagambilana assured of more rehabilitation and construction of ships for Lake Victoria, Tanganyika and Nyasa.
“We are thankful to the fifth-phase government under the administration of President John Magufuli that has made all this possible,” he said.