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Gov’t built capacity to fully exploit maritime potentials

The Government has rolled out various projects to resuscitate the Blue Economy and reposition it as a key player in the country’s development agenda, Government Spokesman, Col. (Rtd.) Cyrus Oguna, has said.

Oguna noted that the reopening of the Marine Training institutions signified the government’s commitment to tap into the Blue Economy to transform the Country.

Oguna made the remarks during a media tour of the Kenya Railways Marine School in Kisumu.

Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa, he added, has also been revamped and reopened to build capacity for the maritime sector.

He pointed out that the Sh10 billion grant to counties in the Coastal region to support various blue economy activities was a clear manifestation of the government’s commitment to fully exploit the blue economy of the country.

“The next frontier of development in this country is the blue economy. That’s why the government is channeling resources to develop the sector and build the competency and technical expertise required,” he said.

The Government Spokesperson disclosed that besides investment in training, plans were underway to revive collapsed ports and fish landing sites in Lake Victoria.

The sites, among them Kendu Bay, Asembo Bay, Homa Bay and Sio Port, will play a key role in the revitalization of blue economy activities in Lake Victoria, added Oguna.

Principal, Kenya Railways Marine School in Kisumu, Steven Buluma, revealed that the Institution has rolled out world class programmes to build human resource capacity for the marine sector.

He noted that the programmes certified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), have been anchored on the government’s Policy Statement on Blue Economy, which envisions heightened integrative regional and international trade, through proper utilization of water bodies.

Marine School Principal added that the Institution which has been rebuilt and modernized with support from the Africa Development Bank and the government of Kenya has state of the art facilities set to put Kenya ahead of its peers in marine and maritime training.

He says the programs on offer at the school include Coxswain III, Diploma in International Freight management and Certificate in Transport Management and Logistics.

Buluma said so far 200 students have enrolled for the programs with plans underway to introduce more courses to maximize the new facilities at the institution, which has a capacity for 1,000 learners.

“A new safety training pool and firefighting division has equally been constructed and will soon be fully operational to facilitate introduction of more programs,” he added..

“We have already requisitioned the equipment for the safety training facility which we expect to install before the end of March this year,” noted Buluma.

This will see the school introduce the Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) which is a proficient mandatory course for seafarers, he added.

The Principal said the course which is only offered at Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam, will position the Marine School as a giant in Maritime training for the Great Lakes region and at the same time boost revenue for the premier institution.

“Some of these courses are short, lasting for about 20 days and costing Sh100, 000 per student. We therefore hope to leverage on the demand and generate revenue for the government,” he said.

Buluma said plans were also underway to introduce Marine Engineering, Nautical Sciences, and Environmental management, Disaster Management, Tourism and Hospitality to address the rising demand for professionals in the various sectors.

“We thank the government for accepting the proposal to revive this institution which was opened in 1964, but remained closed since 1992,” he added.

Besides the marine training and fire training facilities, the new school complex comprises of standard hostels for 160 students, 40 executive rooms and a conference facility.

By Chris Mahandara

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