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Govt to work with shipping agents to uplift seafarers

The government, through the State Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs, has embarked on a partnership with the Kenya Ships Agents Association (KSAA) to up-skill seafarers in the maritime space.

Speaking after a meeting with KSAA, Mining, Blue Economy, and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya said that they have agreed to work on the placement of seafarers on ships to provide them with sea time and job opportunities in the shipping sector.

Mvurya said the two have also agreed to engage and have industry-appropriate courses offered in shipping and maritime facilities that train seafarers and cadets.

He said the Kenya Ships Agents Association and their members have been responsible for creating opportunities for 5,500 seafarers since 2018.

The CS said the government is putting up a Maritime Logistics Centre of Excellence facility in Kwale, which will cost Sh1.5 billion in a bid to equip youth with skills in the blue economy.

“We acknowledge the fact that KSAA has been able to inspire the economy of the country through the shipping business. They import cargo, clear, and also provide transport to the last mile of the shipping business,” he said.

He noted that there is a need for the department to interact with them to understand their issues and the opportunities provided, engage on the important areas of policy regulation relevant to the sector, and discuss the way forward.

Mvurya said the county governments within the coast region have committed to working with the state department so that there can be more seafarers and cadets.

The CS confirmed the government’s commitment to working together with industry players to level the playing field and enable the shipping business to have as many people as possible participate.

On his part, Governor Abdulswamad Nassir thanked the Kenya Maritime Authority for providing the county government of Mombasa with the curriculum on shipping and maritime courses, saying that they are now able to convert the Mtongwe vocational centre for purposes related to maritime.

He said the county government will co-sponsor the conference that is set to happen in Mombasa in November, adding that it is key to opening up the sector.

Chairman KSAA Silvester Kututa said that the maritime industry will be a major driver of the economic development of the country, asking the government to work on a policy framework that will play a leading role in achieving the goal.

Kututa said the association plays a key role in the formation of curriculum in institutions training seafarers, adding that with consultation with the government, more opportunities will be generated as they are now going to the drawing board to put together their thoughts on improving the shipping business.

“We see opportunities everywhere as we represent both the global and local shipping industries on matters of where the world is going in maritime issues in terms of shipping, and we want to cascade that to benefit this country. We have found a better environment of consultation and working together, and we aim to train young people to uplift their standards,” he said.

By Chari Suche

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