The government’s intervention to streamline the maritime industry is yielding fruits as more Kenyans are now securing shipping jobs.
The Seafarers Union of Kenya (SUK) has lauded the government for introducing measures to improve the maritime sector and seafaring in the country.
The SUK General Secretary, Steve Owaki said Kenyan seafarers with valid documents were now able to secure jobs in cruise, cargo and fishing vessels.
“We thank the government for coming to the rescue of our members who have stayed without jobs for a long time,” said Owaki during a press briefing on Monday at Jawambe Hotel in Mombasa.
The SUK official said due to the existing agreement between the government and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), over 500 Kenyan youth have been employed aboard MSC Cruise ships before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He noted that most of the shipping companies were happy with the performance of Kenyan works saying this would help to create job opportunities for more Kenyans in future.
Owaki said the union was delighted that Kenya joined Djibouti in allowing crew change to take place in their Port cities following the global lock down as a result of the Coivd-19 pandemic.
“Due to governments restrictions, seafarers were not allowed to leave ships once they docked at various ports in a bid to contain spread of coronavirus,” he added.
Owaki who was flanked by SUK Chairman, Mwalimu Chii Hamisi and other officials said 30 Kenya seafarers have taken up jobs aboard six fishing vessels that docked at the Mombasa Port last week and embarked on fishing voyage within Kenyan waters.
Recently, the government announced formation of a regulatory body in the shipping industry to protect local seafarers from exploitation by multi-national companies.
The Shipping and Maritime Affairs Principal Secretary (PS), Nancy Karigithu said the State Department in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour established regulations for minimum wages to improve employment conditions of seafarers in the country.
“Seafarers play a critical role in the maritime industry and they must be protected from any form of exploitation,” said Karigithu.
SUK and other stakeholders in the maritime industry welcomed the formation of a regulatory body in the shipping industry saying local seafarers have been suffering in the hands of both local and foreign employers.
The shipping industry in Kenya is largely dominated by Multinational Shipping Companies which have been accused of discriminating Kenyans in terms of employment opportunities, wages and working conditions.
By Mohamed Hassan