The Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) in partnership with the Homa-Bay County Government has embarked on a campaign to enhance safety compliance in Lake Victoria.
The Kenya Maritime Authority Vessel Inspector, Alexander Munga revealed that the campaign was to be effected through a crackdown on fishing and transport vessels operating along Lake Victoria without adhering to safety rules and regulations.
Speaking during a stakeholder sensitization workshop at Homa Bay hotel Tuesday, the Vessels Inspector said that the crackdown was not meant to harass citizens but comes in the wake of rising number of accidents in the lake.
He attributed the accidents to lack of professional training of vessel operators, intoxication, negligence and relaxed enforcement of safety rules.
Munga emphasized that it is the responsibility of all vessel operators in the transport sector and fishing industry to license and register all vessels operating in the lake to enhance safety and security.
Homa-Bay County Commissioner Macharia Irungu said the government fully supported the campaign to enhance safety in the lake.
“Sensitization is ongoing and enforcement of safety measures will be strengthened so that those who venture in the lake operate within the law,” Macharia said. He also called on fishermen and vessel owners to cooperate in the campaign because it was in their best interest.
Homa-bay Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata echoed the County Commissioner adding that the KMA team had come to help citizens learn on how best to undertake business along the lake.
He emphasized that Lake Victoria was a key avenue in the blue economy and it is to be utilized efficiently both economically and environmentally. “We appeal to the national government to procure a public ferry of international standards to connect Mbita, Mfangano and other islands,” Orata added.
By Davis Langat and Natasha Kanisa