Murimi Mutiga @murimimutiga
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has welcomed one of the longest ships to ever dock at the Mombasa port. The Liberian flagged MV MSC Portugal carrying more than 6,000 twenty foot equivalent units (Teus) docked at the port on Monday.
KPA said the arrival of the vesssel, which was safely navigated into the Kilindini channel, is a pointer towards realisation of its dream of making the port a world class facility.
The ship which is 304 metres long with a draft of 14.518 metres, 40m breadth and 24.6 metres depth was piloted into the harbour by Captain William Ruto who is also the authority’s general manager operations.
The vessel has a gross tonnage of 74,962 tonnes and cargo carrying capacity of 3,105 Teus in hold and another 3,550Teus on deck.
“This vessel is not just an ordinary container ship owing to its size, it can only call at big ports like Mombasa, Re-union, Mauritius and not smaller ones,” Ruto said at berth No.19 quayside. He was speaking when he disembarked from the vessel he piloted at a record one-and-a-half hours from the entrance of the channel.
He said the safe navigation and docking of the vessel would allow other shipping lines to send such bigger ships to the port.
The container ship was expected to discharge 1,000 Teus and load a similar quantity. Until the completion of the dredging project to -15 metres, the port channel was restricted to vessels with a maximum draft of 11 metres. “The port is now capable of handling third and fourth generation vessels with capacities ranging between 4,500 and 6,000 Teus,” said Ruto.
Other large container vessels which have called at the port in the recent past include Ever Delight and Ital Mattina with a length overall of 294 metres and 264 metres respectively. The vessel’s maiden calls were marked as achievements of the fruits of government’s commitment towards port capacity expansion.