Laropi is a marine vessel that connects Adjumani District to Moyo District. It connects the landing sites of Laropi and Umi.
The ferry starts operations at 5:30am and often ends at by 7pm. It has a vessel capacity of 120 tonnes.
It carries an average of 1,500 to 1,800 people per day at the crossing with a minimum of 12 trips and a maximum of 22 trips. It takes 30 minutes for loading and offloading while the time to cross is between 10 to 15 minutes.
The ferry has a capacity of 180 passengers and cargo of 90 tonnes as per the Certificate of Sea Worthiness.
To provide for maintenance of the ferry, usually the team reserves half a day for routine maintenance or conduct one after the end of day route operations.
The Laropi Ferry had barely served for a year and was expected to ease the movement of people in Adjumani and Moyo areas.
Staffing and gender issues
The Laropi Ferry has twenty-six (26) staff. These include 10 UNRA staff (1 Ferry Master, 3 Operators, 2 Mechanics, 4 Ferry Attendants), 10 Uganda Police Force staff and 6 support staff. Four (4) of the support staff are females representing 15 % of the total.
Each trip consists of 3 staff that help with the navigation of the ferry and 2 staff for watch keeping.
The facilities at the landing site at Laropi included 2 waiting sheds, 1 office block and a washroom while the landing site at Umi included 2 waiting sheds and a washroom which was faulty and needed repairs however the locals at the landing site have made it impossible to repair the washrooms due to an ongoing land wrangle. UNRA mentioned that there is an ongoing engagement on the matter.
Access roads to the ferry were in a good condition and there was a clear route schedule visible at both sides of the crossing.
There was a clear demand of the services of the ferry and the Ferry master observed that there had been demands by the passengers for the increase of the ferry operational hours to 10 PM to satisfy the business hours of the local community however this poses a risk to the ferry operators as the ferry is not designed for navigation in the dark.
Safety and security measures
The ferry is insured for passengers and Cargo until 15th August 2020. The ferry has life jackets (235 for adults and 40 for children), 5 ring buoys, 4 sand buckets, a hose, and 8 fire extinguishers (6 onboard and 2 at the operational inputs stores).
There was presence of Aids to navigation in place and they included; ferry lights, an onboard Public Address System, and a reflective signage at Laropi.
There was mandatory passenger registration and screening handled by the Uganda Police, security checks for both passengers, vehicles and luggage before going to the ferry. The Passenger and Cargo manifests were maintained properly.