The Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) has embarked on training shippers and other players on how to handle oils spills and other cases of pollution in the sea.
The four-day training, scheduled to end on Thursday, is also aimed at teaching on prompt and effective action to minimise the damage which may result from oil pollution in the Lamu Indian Ocean and other places along the Coast region.
Addressing stakeholders at the Majlis Hotel during the opening of the training, KMA Director General George Okong’o said Lamu County has seen a rise in development activities both in shipping and petroleum activities. Therefore, he noted, it is important to equip locals with knowledge on how to deal with oils spills at sea.
The KMA is the government agency responsible for maritime safety and protection of marine environment.
Mr Okong’o urged shippers and the general public to protect life at sea and all navigable waters, and to ensure safety of property and preservation of marine environment from shipping activities.
“…we recognise the serious threat posed to the marine environment by oil pollution incidents involving ships, sea ports and oil handling facilities. Recently, there has been increased petroleum activities both offshore and onshore in search for oil and gas with discoveries already made onshore. These discoveries increase the risks for pollution incidents on our waters,” said Mr Okong’o.
He said to prevent oil spills in the ocean, KMA in conjunction with other stakeholders, have developed the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan.
“The purpose of this plan is to provide a framework to KMA, relevant government agencies and the oil industry to respond to oil spill emergencies likely to occur within our waters. This workshop therefore aims at testing the effectiveness of the Contingency Plan in responding to its intended purpose,” Mr Okong’o said.
“The objective of the workshop is to enhance knowledge of shoreline clean-up strategies for the type of oil spilled, the type of shoreline impacted and the equipment available, in the context of developing and strengthening the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan and management systems.”
The workshop brings together participants from different government ministries, departments, agencies as well as private stakeholders and NGOs with roles in responding to marine spills.