Military personnel have been deployed to assist in disaster management after a cargo train derailed at Kibarani, Changamwe.
The Kenya Railways train ferrying fuel derailed at Kibarani early Sunday, completely cutting off Mombasa Island from the mainland.
Five containers of petrol slid from the rail track and overturned but no injuries were reported.
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers drawn from the Navy were deployed to man the Mombasa port through Kipevu gate and others at Kibarani where fuel spilled.
“Kenya Navy are here because they are part of disaster management for oil spills. We requested for a team and they came because this is a marine incident. They are also giving backup to the security agents who are here and to ensure we manage the incident before it gets out of hand. They are helping in crowd and traffic control,” said Maritime and Shipping Affairs Principal Secretary Nancy Karigithu.
The Kenya Navy joins other teams from Mombasa County, Kenya Railways, Kenya National Highways Authority, National Environmental Authority, Energy Regulatory Authority, General Service Unit and regular police who have been deployed to assist in disaster management.
The PS said the experts will ensure the fuel does not spill into the ocean and affect the marine system.
“We have also brought fire brigade and we are monitoring the situation. We are working round the clock to ensure that we clear the crisis. We have had to close the road from Changamwe to Mombasa and Mbaraki to ensure public safety,” Ms Karigithu said.
On Sunday, a decanting team was busy gradually transferring the fuel from the derailed containers into a mobile facility to be transported by road.
A Kibarani slum dweller who was sleeping when the accident occurred affected by the spillage.
“There was only one slum dweller who was affected after fuel was collected at his home. Of course it was risky so he had to be evacuated. Yes, we have an incident but it is not as dire. 250,000 litres of petrol spilled into the ocean,” said Ms Karigithu.
Ms Karigithu said about 3,000 litres of fuel leaked but has been contained with foam and coolant.
“A KRC train with 16 wagons of shunting to Nairobi derailed in Kibarani. Out of the 16 wagons, two derailed and five of them capsized. The train was carrying fuel for Vivo Energy and of the 16 wagons only two were affected which had a capacity of 15,000 litres of fuel each and one is leaking,” added the PS.
She said the port road is an alternative route to be used for the urgent cases only. Buses and trucks and other heavy commercial vehicles were directed to use Mavueni through Mtwapa route.
Ms Karigithu asked motorists from Nairobi to use the Kaloleni, Mavueni, Mtwapa route to get to Mombasa.
Hundreds of commuters and motorists at the busy Mombasa-Nairobi highway were stranded due to the incident.
Makupa Causeway which connects the Mombasa Island to the mainland linking Moi International Airport and Standard Gauge Railway via Mombasa-Nairobi highway was closed indefinitely in both directions to and from Mombasa.
Travelling in and out of the tourism hub was stopped following the incident but alternative routes were created through the port.
Passengers using Jambo Jet were asked to use an alternative route to access the Moi airport.
Jambo Jet said their passengers should use Gate 9 of KPA where they will be required to produce tickets for access.
It was a huge relief to hundreds of passengers who missed their 7.15am Madaraka Express train as they were asked to collect their refund from Mombasa terminus or reschedule their travel through the booking office.
“Meanwhile, those passengers who will travel in the afternoon train which departs at 3.15pm should access Mombasa terminus through Gate 5 of Mombasa port in Shimanzi area,” SGR posted in their website.