Illegal fishing blamed for stalled Uganda ferry

The Ssese Islands are an archipelago of eighty-four islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria in Uganda.

Illegal fishing blamed for stalled Uganda ferry

The Ssese Islands are an archipelago of eighty-four islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria in Uganda. The islands are coterminous with the Kalangala District in southern Central Uganda, which does not have any territory on mainland Uganda.

The privately owned lake ferry MV Pearl yesterday stalled halfway enroute from Kalangala to Bukakata leaving passengers on the ferry pondering their fate. It was the first trip in the morning from the main island of the Ssese group, also delaying the first trip from the mainland near Masaka to the island.

Information received later spoke of the propeller getting crippled after running over illegal fishing nets which were laid into the regular route of the ferry. Only when a diver was brought to the floating ferry – no danger existed for passengers and vehicles on board – was it possible to remove the nets and restart the engine to complete the journey.

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The Ssese Islands are of scenic beauty and often many still hardly inhabited, making it an ideal getaway for tourists who want to visit the island group and stay in some of the small resorts which have sprung up over the past years. Many of the islands are forested with a rich bird life and fishing in the waters is a popular sport, but also a profession as fishermen bring out their nets at night to sell their catch in the morning.

The stalling of the ferry is at least the second time in recent months that this happened and the ferry company has reportedly now involved the Ministry of Transport to ensure that the main route is declared off limits for fishermen.

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