People of Likoma Island, an exclave of Malawi can now afford a smile following confirmation that MV Ilala is back on the Lake Malawi waters and is fully functional.
Likoma Island is the larger of two inhabited islands in Lake Malawi, the smaller being the nearby Chizumulu.
Transportation to the islands is mainly by MV Ilala ship. Likoma and Chizumulu both belong to Malawi, and together they make up the Likoma District.
Speaking in an interview with The Nation yesterday, Malawi Shipping Company spokesperson Austin Msowoya said the engineers ran a successful test of the engine that was being maintained and considered the ship fit for sailing.
“The trials have been very successful. The test was run for three hours and the engineers have confirmed that the engine is performing well. The trials involve a considerable distance as the ship goes around the waters in Mangochi,” said Msowoya. The spokesperson said the company will be making an official position today as to when the ship will start sailing. However, he said there were high chances of it starting on Saturday June 1, 2013.
The vessel got grounded last year in June and went through intensive maintenance that cost millions of kwacha.
Efforts put to put back the ship on Lake Malawi were frustrated after one of the engines malfunction due to inadequate lubrication—a development officials attributed to factory fault.
Angered by lack of transportation to and from the islands, people of Likoma wrote an open letter to the President lamenting government lack of commitment to find a lasting solution to transport woes on the islands.