Precautions have been put in place to safeguard people around the coast and lake regions in the country from contracting coronavirus owing to their economic occupation and environment.
Ships and Boats as a means of conveyance present the possibility to import or transmit Corona virus.
Addressing the media at Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa today, Maritime and Shipping Principal Secretary (PS) Nancy Karigithu, said the Multi-Agency Committee on covid-19 at the port has instituted guidelines, including pre-arrival, reporting and document exchange such as health declaration in accordance with the International Health Regulations as issued by WHO.
Amongst other measures, the PS said Pre-arrival risk categorisation, arrival crew health screening and health monitoring, while in the ports, it will be mandatory to keep the disease at bay.
Karigithu added that due to travel restrictions, sea fearers will have shore leave since many of them are unable to sign-off due to the many restrictions.
She noted that Crew change, control of board teams and protection of port workers and all people coming into contact with the ship crew will be closely observed.
The PS assured assistance to crew members exhibiting corona symptoms and the Likoni ferry users of governments intervention in any eventuality.
Karigithu, however, regretted the inconveniences the exercise may cause the industry, saying the stringent measures are necessary in view of the prevailing circumstances in the country and the risk presented by allowing ships or crew that have been to the severely affected countries.
“We urge all industry players, including those at other coastal and inland water ports to strictly adhere to the precautions as prescribed by the health experts and officials, both at workplace and at other areas in which we are at risk of infection,” said MS Karigithu.
She advised boat owners to reduce the number of passengers, provide sanitisers and verify if tourists have been in Isolation for at least 14 days after arrival into the country.
The PS discouraged unnecessary use of boats for those living near the waters and to report suspicious movements and activities in the waters to the necessary authorities.
The media was especially advised to target the boat and fishing communities in sensitisation as well as in their COVID-19 campaign messages.
Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) will, however, not conduct vessel inspections until the situation clears in order not to congregate people as advised by the National Committee on coronavirus.
She urged local administration and public health workers to continue educating the communities on the means to prevent contracting or spreading the Corona virus.
MS Karigithu called on anyone who feels unwell to immediately check into a health facility while taking all precautions by wearing a mask and practicing cough and sneeze hygiene.
By Joseph Kamolo