TPA suspends activities at Itungi port


JF-Expert Member
Jul 14, 2007
TPA suspends activities at Itungi port

2007-12-18 09:35:36
By Thobias Mwanakatwe, PST, Kyela

The Tanzania Ports Authority has suspended activities at Itungi port on the shores of Lake Nyasa in Kyela District, Mbeya Region due to continued sedimentation that had dramatically reduced the water level at the lake.

According to the Acting Lake Ports Director, John Fungo reduced water levels prevented docking of both cargo and passenger ships at the port in fear of striking near-the surface rocks.

Speaking at a workshop in Kyela yesterday in an event organised by the Surface and Marine Transport Authority (Sumatra) bringing together government officials, MPs and other invited stakeholders from Iringa, Ruvuma and Mbeya regions, Fungo said sedimentation to the lake was partly caused by Mbasi River with its course near Itungi port.

``It has not been possible for ships to dock at the port as unloading of cargo from ships and disembarking or boarding passengers have to use dhows to reach ships docking off shores, posing serious dnger to people`s security,`` Fungo said.

Clarifying on alternative measures taken by TPA, the director said some of the port activities have been shifted to Kiwira, where there were no proper docking facilities either.

�TPA is planning a massive project to remove sand from the lake, the project that requires large sums of money. In 1998 the estimated budget for implementation of the project stood at USD1.3m, but now it should be way above the previously projected estimates.

Deliberate efforts are also underway to improve Kiwira port to handle the increasing volume of cargo,� he explained.

Other factors said to have contributed to the gradual and steadily fall of water level at the lake include destruction of the environment, particularly the water sources where rivers draining to the lake have their sources.

�Apart from global warming, contributing to the drying up of some water sources, hydro-power project along Shire river in Malawi as well as massive scale irrigation project at Lower Shire river required good storage of water which could have been drained to the lake,� he added.

On their part, participants to the workshop called on all stakeholders to work together to ensure protection of the environment and the water sources to prevent further dwindling of the water level at Lake Nyasa.

* SOURCE: Guardian
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