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Boat operators in Lamu issued with travel warning

Lamu small boat and vessel operators have been put on notice over long-distance travel following a weather forecast by the Kenya Metrological Department’s citing rough seas due to unpredictable weather for the next two days.
The weather prediction comes in the wake of a travel warning issued by Kenya Maritime Authority that the high seas were presently a no-go-zone for small vessels following reports that three vessels capsized Wednesday due to strong tides and heavy rains across the Lamu Indian Ocean Channel.
Speaking to KNA over the weather alert Thursday, Kenya Maritime Authority Lamu County coordinator Alex Munga however revealed that there were no casualties in all three incidents, adding that the three boats were on their way to Kiunga to ferry Miraa.
He advised boat operators to adhere to travel warnings in a bid to prevent such accidents, though he added that both the county and national governments were coordinating to provide coast guard and disaster rescue services.
“Through experience, we have improved our search and rescue timelines and coordination to prevent any disaster at sea, though it would also be advisable for the boat operators to adhere to maritime guidelines of travel,” Munga said.
He added that in order to strengthen search and rescue efforts boat operators need to ensure their vessels are registered with Kenya Maritime Authority as well as Kenya Ports Authority.
Lamu East Deputy County Commissioner David Lusava also weighed in on the incident intimating that boat operators need not put their passengers’ lives at risk for a quick buck.
“As much as we appreciate that these are hard times we need all boat users to adhere to safety warnings,” he said.
Also speaking over the travel warning, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia revealed that although persons involved in all incidents were rescued, with the latest one being at 4.30 pm on Wednesday, the national government had issued a warning based on the weatherman’s predictions of unpredictable weather at sea for the better part of the week.
“Those flouting these warnings are clearly hell-bent on breaking the law despite putting the lives of their crews and passengers at risk,” he said.
Three boats capsized while ferrying miraa to Kiunga that would later be smuggled to Somali despite the government having closed border with the neighbouring country.
By Amenya Ochieng

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