Seafearers without permits to be poured out of Kenyan waters


Norwegian flagged chemical/oil carrier, Bow Optima is guided by the Kenya Ports Authority tugboat as it docks at the Port of Mombasa on January 3, 2021. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG

All seafarers seeking to venture into deep sea on Kenya’s territorial waters will be required to be certified by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)and the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA).

The government says untrained persons will not be allowed to work onboard ships plying deep seas without certification.

Currently, Kenya has over 2,000 seafarers who are licensed to operate in the deep seas. The government, however, says the number is low considering the potential the deep seas can offer in terms of employment.

The government noted that henceforth it will not allow non-licensed workers to offer services for vessels in the deep seas.

“Only lMO and KMA licencesd operators will be allowed in the deep sea vessels,” said Stephen Buluma, the principal of Kenya Railways Marine School.

His sentiments were echoed by government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna who said it is important for seafarers to be licensed as this assures of their safety when they are in water.

“The need for training and certification is to ensure that they are well equipped in terms of safety and they can handle their work with a lot of professionalism,” said Mr Oguna.

To train more seafarers, the government said it will increase intake at the Bandari and the Kisumu marine schools, the only institutions in the country that offer certification.

Kenya last year secured the welfare of seafarers by gazetting the Maritime Wage Council aimed at resolving the current disparity in wages between Kenyan seafarers and those from other countries which have an established wage standard.

The move was aimed at ensuring locals receive fair pay for equal work onboard ships.

The standard wage will enable Kenya to meet its obligations under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 of minimum working and living standards for all seafarers and will set a level-playing field for ship owners.

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