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500 seafarers flood the market as more are trained

Graduates who left Bandari College in 2014 have not been employed. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Graduates who left Bandari College in 2014 have not been employed. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya’s maritime sector faces a labour glut as Bandari College churns out more graduates. The sector is yet to absorb 500 seafarers trained at the college between 2014 and last year while 131 more students are undergoing training.

Seafarers Union of Kenya (SUK) secretary general Steve Owaki yesterday said the trainees had been left to fend for themselves.

“The government should support the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) so that those who have been trained can secure jobs,” he said at Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort during a meeting between SUK, Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu). Transport Principal Secretary Paul Mwangi admitted that there were challenges in securing jobs for seafarers.

“The ministry is laying down a framework for consultations with the State departments of Labour and Fisheries and the ministries of Mining and Petroleum to seek employment for seafarers,” Prof Mwangi said.

Bandari College trains Form Four leavers on standards of training, certification and watch keeping, a mandatory course covering fire-fighting, first aid and personal safety.

It also offers certificate and diploma courses in marine engineering, nautical science.