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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 November 2005, 17:38 GMT
Senegal restores vital ferry link
Passengers disembark from the Wilis ferry in Ziguinchore
The Wilis successfully completed its maiden voyage
Senegal has successfully re-launched a ferry service linking the northern and southern parts of the country.

The Wilis ferry arrived in Ziguinchor in the Casamance region after leaving the capital, Dakar, late on Friday.

It replaces the Joola ferry, which sank in 2002. Almost 2,000 people were drowned and only 64 people were saved.

With no ferry service to Dakar, Casamance was cut off from the rest of Senegal. The shortest overland route crosses The Gambia.

Travellers and traders have often been subject to bureaucratic delays.

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade recently suggested building a tunnel under The Gambia.

Schoolchildren victims

The Wilis left Dakar at 1900 GMT on Friday, arriving in the port of Ziguinchor at 1300 GMT on Saturday.

The passenger ferry completed its maiden voyage without reporting any problems, according to the AFP news agency.

The Joola remains on the bottom of the ocean with some 1,000 victims still inside.

Many of the families are still waiting for promised compensation totalling some $30m.

Many of those who died were schoolchildren returning to Dakar at the end of the summer holidays.

The ferry was carrying nearly four times as many people as it should have been when it went down off the Gambian coast.

An inquiry concluded that the accident had been caused by overloading and negligence on the part of the boat's operators, the Senegalese navy and rescue services.

New ferry after Senegal sinking
11 Nov 05 |  Africa
Senegal remembers ferry tragedy
26 Sep 03 |  Africa
Senegal ferry survivors' ordeal
30 Sep 02 |  Africa

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