Abandoned at Failaka

Post by Mark

I got the following by email but have not verified this:

More than 150 visitors to Failaka Island including small children and women were stranded at Failaka Island on Sunday, 26th Feb. The visitors all of whom went to the island using KPTC’s ferry from Salmiya in the morning were told that the return ferries would arrive at 3:30 pm and the last one would be at 4pm. The people who arrived early to get a seat on the ferry had a surprise. There was no sign of the KPTC boat at either 3:30 or 4 pm. The tired crowd was informed by someone that a boat would arrive at 5 pm. But around 5:30 pm when the boats still had not arrived some one in the crowd contacted the KPTC’s office in Salmiya only to be told that there would be no boat arriving as the boats were blocked from leaving the Salmiya jetty because their licence had expired!!!

The people who had bought return tickets on the KPTC ferry were left high and dry on the island with no other mode of transport available nor any alternative plan made by the KPTC to help the stranded passengers. Someone called 112 and were told that they could not do anything about the situation. Finally at nightfall some of the people managed to contact friends and relatives in Kuwait and managed to get some private boats paying exorbitant prices just to be able to leave the island and reach home. Some including ladies who could not afford the boats were still on the island waiting for the ferry which one report suggested might arrive the next day!

– CD

If this is true then it’s messed up.

Failaka Ferry Photo unrelated and taken by Jafar


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43 comments, add your own...


  1. Sarcastico says:

    Sue their asses!

  2. Burhan says:

    WTF do they mean by their “License Expired” ?? i mean seriously , KPTC is for god sake the biggest transport company in Kuwait and how could this problem arrive ? don’t they have like Thousands of employee’s hired to do that job…? BTW lost episode came to my mind while reading this XD

    • Mariam says:

      KPTC, the same company that is running the filty dirty run-down busses around Kuwait with no proper bus stops? That KPTC. Wow, fire them.

  3. Blink says:

    Well, that was a little selfish of some people to charge others to go on their boat… so much for welfare.

  4. Joe says:

    Seriously, somebody needs to get sacked and I’m not talking about the ferry crew but the responsible manager or even the head honcho!

  5. Rosy says:

    Can’t believe KPTC can be so negligent and callous. My heart goes out to people who still might be stranded.

  6. Abdulaziz says:

    I’d say this story is load of crap.

    There are two companies operating ferries to filaka one of them is KPTC. KPTC has more than one ferri and it is a government owned and operated company.

    If for ANY kind of reason their license was revoked, they have other boats in the company.. if all their boats were not allowed to sail (which is unimaginable), there is still another ferries company in Kuwait and they could have arranged with them to help the people.

    EVEN if KPTC did not want to help people, i’m sure people would have managed to contact the other company themselves to arrange for transport.

    In shittiest situation when no one intentionally does not want to help, the coast guard DO HAVE a transport vessel that moves people and vehicles from Failaka island to Kuwait city and they have done it numinous of times before and claiming that “112” said they cannot offer help is just impossible. The least 112 could have done is they’d communicate with the coast guards and then the coast guards would arrive to the scene and maybe then claim they cannot do anything. BUT i know from experience they can and they have moved many people from the island back to main land.

    Finally, there is military base on the island that has always served the visitors of the island especially when people get stranded.

    i call this story load of bullcrap.

    • iThink says:

      Abdulaziz, I was one of those stranded on the Failaka island yesterday and managed to reach Salmiya by 8:30 pm. Before calling the story “bullcrap” did you at least call up KPTC to find out if there were really any of their boats that plied yesterday afternoon??

      The second transport company has boats leaving from the Marina and they need to be booked from Salmiya for a 2-way journey, they cost 5 times that of KPTC boats, and I don’t think they do a one-way trip.

      Regarding the reluctance of “112” to intervene was understandable as the people were just stranded and no one was in any immediate danger. Also majority of the people were expats with only which may explain KPTC’s attitude; althouth there were a few Kuwaitis still waiting in their cars to be transported back. About the military you seriously don’t expect visitors to the island to know all these facts, but there was a helicopter which we saw landing around 7:30pm and which lifted off within a few minutes. Don’t know if they took anyone aboard.

      Please don’t add insult to injury calling the report “a lot of crap” if you don’t know the facts.

      • bokhaddah says:

        Were there really private boats that charged some of you guys for a return!! If that’s true then those should feel ashamed of themselves to make money out of your situation!

    • Stranded says:

      Abdulaziz, please do not comment when you obviously are ignorant of the situation. I was one of the ‘stranded’.
      We were a large group of more than 40 people including children, 1 toddler and also a pregnant lady.
      There were several rumours why the ferries did not leave Ras Al-Salmiya to pick up the people. I believe this is beyond the point. They should have made alternative arrangements.
      No one was there to help and we were blessed to receive help for some Indian employed there who arranged the transport to take us back albeit at a premium price.
      It was better than some local who ‘kindly’ offered to provide accommodation at an exhorbitant price. But for a lesser fee we managed to get transport back to Ras Al-Salmiya.

      Now will KPTC refund the fee paid for a two-way journey? I doubt it as we will be made to run for pillar-to-post.

      I wonder what the other remaining families did!

  7. Mrk says:

    Even if the license is expire the ferry can move in emergency situations, no one will stop her.
    And honestly the responsible department or employees must be thrown out from this company immediately

  8. Ali Sleeq says:

    What were they doing in Failiaka in the first place?

  9. Yusef says:

    @Abdulaziz While I don’t know the details about 112 and coast guard helping or not, I do know my wife has been stuck on the island since yesterday.

    Hope they get this sorted out soon. Totally unacceptable.

  10. Yusef says:

    Update: Wife on the way home. Don’t know if they arranged alternate transportation, or if everything is running normally again.

    She also said people were getting pretty agitated (understandably), and there were a few fights. I wasn’t there and can’t confirm though.

  11. Kurt says:

    Is KPTC owned by the government?

  12. Marron Glace says:

    I think this story should make a great movie !!

    • TweeZ says:

      yes! And the island is haunted from various spirits that torment the tourists. Will they make it back to tell the world about it?
      Classic B-movie premise.

  13. ahmad says:

    i think they have a motel or some small stay in place (forgot what’s it’s called :P)

  14. desert sky says:

    Typical Kuwait mentality. They obviously knew most of the passengers were expats hence the attitude and that the passengers have no real legal course of action following this balls up.

  15. MoHmd says:

    Bottom line is this – people need and want quality outings during public holidays. This government can’t even run a ferry service. Failaka Island has potentional to be a viable destination, but it must be upgraded to the level of standard that the community desires. ATTENTION, Dubai standard. This should have been developed a decade ago with the airport. It appears to be calculated at this point.

  16. She De Lovely says:

    The whole country is stranded in one way or another. We just don’t know it.

    Steal, loot, plunder, no accountability. No law.

  17. Rabbit says:

    My friends and I were also some of the unfortunate stranded on the island yesterday. What we planned to be an adventurous cycling excursion on failaka turned into a suspenseful drama situation. It was almost like we were playing parts in a movie. We were expected to be back in the city by 3:30 pm and when we went back to the port for our ferry back, it never came, they said to wait till 5, that a fight happened on the ferry and they had to take it back to the city. So being the flexible group of people that we are, we decided to enjoy the additional time we got on the island and explore it some more. Come 5:00 o’clock. Surprise surprise the ferry isn’t here yet. and people started saying that a ferry wont come till tomorrow. Concern grew among us all our cell phones were running out of battery, you know, because we weren’t planning on staying more than 4 hours on the island. blaba blaa bla long story short, We had to make our own fire from the branches of dead plants and a borrowed lighter, just to keep us warm enough through the night. By 9:30pm all our phones were dead and we really did give up and started planning our sleeping situation. At 12:15-ish we started seeing the ferry approaching the island, so we grabbed our bikes and raced to the entry point to be among the first ones off the island. As usual, the ferry was over capacitated with cars and people, but at that point we were glad to be on the ferry. After almost two hours of being on the open-roof and awfully windy ferry, we reached the salmiya dock with nothing but a lawsuit in mind.

  18. o0o says:

    A friend of us working in KPTC said that there was a raid by Baladiya cox KPTC was over-loading people onto the boats. Don’t know if thats true

  19. nqwasindc says:

    I was one of the people trying to get off the island. Bloody ridiculous! How does one go about filing a case?

  20. nqwasindc says:

    I am one of the individuals who were abandoned at the island. My 4 hour biking adventure in Failaka turned into the longest journey back home. The most frustrating part of the whole ordeal was that no one had an answer for us. There werent any KPTC spokespersons and the police officers were clueless too. The rumors kept on growing and expanding into elaborate stories throughout the day and night. The one consistant message was that the ferry will definitely be back, but at an undefined time – and hence, my friends and I never left sight of the port.
    We managed to start and maintain a fire to warm us through the cold and windy night. Since we only planned to stay 4 daytime hours, we had no food supply nor heavy clothes. The coast guards came just before midnight but rescued the women and children first. I am a woman, but I was considerably healthier and stronger than the other women, plus I had a bike, so I wasn’t one of the “chosen ones.”
    The ferry ended up coming a bit after midnight. We raced to grab the first piece of steel ground (the ferry had no seats) and 2hrs later, after freezing our body until numbness, we reached the mainland.
    awful experience.

    ..I’m still cold :(

    • Max says:

      Guess you were part of the 4 cyclist I seen. At that time I was planning to do the same.
      But after that ordeal … I don’t think so! :-)

  21. Nawaf says:

    Al Wattan news papers published today that the coast guard intervened for 400 people.

    So who is right and who is BS

  22. Areej says:

    Stranded people: You know what you should have done? Turn on the music full blast and start dancing and having a wild party. Ill bet you anything that, not one, but 5 ferries would be on their way to you PRONTO! :D


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