The government bets on education and training to boost Kenya’s marine-based economic development.
Three institutions — Mount Kenya University, the Kenya School of Revenue Administration and Coast International College — have been accredited by the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) to offer land based maritime curriculum.
Maritime principal secretary Nancy Karigithu said certificate and diploma curriculum on maritime transport logistics will help youth gain employment as seafarers and land-based logistical support personnel.
“The courses are designed to equip trainees with the relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes for performance of clerical and supervisory duties in processing of shipping documents, managing port operations, undertaking cargo and ships clearance, and interpreting contract documents in shipping business, “she said. They will also learn on complying with environmental conventions, laws and regulations, supervising logistics and multimodal transport operations, and performing ship broking. KMA acting director-general George Macgoye said KMA has embraced maritime training and education as one of its key Vision 2030 flagship projects.
“Together with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development we have also developed a national maritime curriculum for training Kenyan seafarers in line with the amended Standards of Training, Certification and watch keeping (STCW) Convention,” he said.
He said the curriculum covers maritime training from the artisan to university and complies with international standards to ensure that qualified Kenyan seafarers are employable globally.
“It (curriculum) covers marine engineering, nautical sciences, diploma in marine engineering as well as mandatory and advanced STCW courses. We are optimistic that more Kenyan institutions will be accredited to offer these courses,” he said. The authority, he added, is developing teaching guides and student manuals to ensure uniformity of coverage in all accredited training institutions. Mr Macgoye said recruitment of ship officers in future is likely to focus on Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America due to the high labour cost in traditional maritime countries.
Meanwhile, Ms Karigithu said the department is working with the Ministry of Labour to prepare regulations on minimum wages for Kenyan seafarers. “All this will enable us meet our obligations under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006, minimum working and living standards for all seafarers on ships and further seeks to set fair competition and a level playing field for quality owners of ships flying the flags of countries that have ratified the convention,” she said. The upcoming Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour) Regulations 2017 , she said will provide a mechanism to enhance effective implementation of the convention.
The PS further hailed the improvement of the Northern Corridor and expansion of the Mombasa port saying it will enhance trade.
She noted that the standard gauge railway cargo services is improving the cargo off-take from the Port of Mombasa and aiding to reduce the overall logistic cost along the Northern corridor.
“Also the current road infrastructure developments linking the Port of Mombasa will ease the traffic flow and overall ease of doing business reducing costs associated with delays owning to congestion,” she said. “The Lapsset project is on course and will enhance development in the maritime sector and improve cargo flow to the neighboring countries of Ethiopia and South Sudan as well as open up Northern Kenya.”