Communities and local leaders in Likoma and Chizumulu have expressed concern over delays to maintain Malawi’s flagship MV Ilala, saying life has become unbearable.
According to Traditional Authority (T/A) Mkumpha, the grounding of the ship has affected people heavily.
He said the new fault has brought misery among the people, who had waited for 10 months, hoping their transport woes would come to an end.
“There is also the problem of high cost of living and stalling of developments in the district as a result of transport problems.”
The vessel got grounded three weeks ago when one of its engines malfunctioned due to inadequate lubrication. Officials attributed the problem to a factory fault. By then the vessel had only sailed for few hours after 10 months of maintenance, which cost the company $2 million.
But speaking in an interview on Wednesday, the company’s spokesperson Austin Msowoya, said the Malawi Shipping Company has said maintenance works for MV Ilala will begin soon following the arrival of engine spare parts.
He said Barloworld received the spare parts and anytime maintenance work will start.
Msowoya said if all goes well, engineers will be fitting the engine to the vessel on Monday.
“Everyone is concerned. Even the suppliers are panicking, but efforts are being made to have it back even if it means getting a new engine.
“Right now they are goint to replace the bearing, which malfunctioned,” said Msowoya.