Govt postpones MV Ilala maintenance to December

MV Chilembwe Malawi

Malawi Government has postponed MV Ilala’s maintenance to December this year, allowing the vessel to continue operating on Lake Malawi.

The vessel’s surveyor safety certificate expired on 4 August this year and it was expected to undergo a refit programme.

However, Government says its marine surveyors undertook a safety inspection on the vessel and all safety matters were corrected. The surveyors have declared the vessel fit to operate on the Lake Malawi.

“The extension therefore means the vessel shall be due for maintenance in December 2023.

“Malawi Shipping Company will continue to operate the vessel on Lake Malawi throughout this period. Meanwhile, Marine surveyors shall continue to inspect the vessel routinely,” says a statement released yesterday by Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Madalo Nyambose

According to Nyambose, Government believes that the availability of the vessel at this time when travel between Likoma Island and the mainland is at its peak will ease transportation challenges and prevent people from using unworthy boats.

Last week, the operator of the vessel said MV Chilembwe was expected to replace MV Ilala’s schedule but water users complained that they would still be affected as MV Chilembwe’s capacity is limited.

The MV Ilala which carries over 400 passengers was built in 1949 and sails across Lake Malawi weekly.