People of Likoma Island, an exclave of Malawi can now afford a smile following confirmation that MV Ilala is now back & functional.
MV Ilala, formally Ilala II, is a motor ship that has plied Lake Malawi in East Africa since 1951. She is operated by Malawi Lake Services and based in Monkey Bay, Malawi (on the southern end of the lake); every week she crosses the lake all the way north to Chilumba, Malawi, near Tanzania (about 300 miles (480 km) from Monkey Bay) and then returns to Monkey Bay. She carries both passengers and freight, and calls at major towns on both the Malawian and Mozambican coast, as well as at the two inhabited islands of the lake (Likoma and Chizumulu). While the ship is often late (reportedly by as much as 24 hours or more) and has sometimes broken down she remains the most important means of long-distance transport for the people living on the coast of the lake. She is 172 feet (52 m) long overall, has a gross tonnage of 620 tons and can accommodate up to 365 passengers and 100 tons of cargo.