MV Ilala passengers, who stayed at Monkey Bay Shipyard for 10 days following Malawi Shipping Company (MSC) employees’ sit-in, finally left on Sunday using land transport, courtesy of well-wishers and Mangochi District Council.
The passengers, including men, women and children, arrived at the shipyard on September 3 to board the ship on September 4 to travel to Likoma, Nkhata Bay and Karonga, respectively, only to find the ship service was suspended due to the industrial action.
By Friday, 13 passengers remained at the shipyard. They appealed for help from well-wishers to proceed to their destinations using land transport.
Monkey Bay Police Station officer-in-charge Charles James Mpezeni alerted Mangochi district commissioner (DC) Raphael Piringu about the issue.
On Saturday evening Piringu appealed to government sectors and civil society organisations(CSOs) in the district to bail out the stranded passengers.
The DC wrote on Mangochi District Executive Committee social media forum: “We had 13 passengers stranded and now we’re remaining with nine. Three are travelling to Likoma, three to Nkhata Bay and three to Uliwa, Karonga.
“We don’t know when the sit-in issue will be sorted out and my writing is to ask for fuel support contribution for two vehicles to take some to Uliwa and Some to Nkhata Bay.”
By Sunday morning, CSOs and government sectors such as Labour Office, Social Welfare Office, Forestry, Malawi College of Fisheries, Malawi Red Cross Society and United Purpose, had made fuel contributions.
The passengers left at around 12:30pm on Malawi College of Fisheries coaster with police escort from Monkey Bay Police Station.
In an interview yesterday, one of the travellers, Tryness Kondowe, said she arrived safely at Uliwa in Karonga.