The Sh.2.4 billion MV Uhuru II vessel is set to start operation in May as the government moves to operationalize the revamped Kisumu Port.
Internal Security and National government Administration Principal Secretary (PS) Dr. Raymond Omollo said the vessel built by Kenya Shipyards Limited (KSL)-Kisumu was nearing completion and will revolutionize port operations in the area.
The launch, he said will be graced by President Dr. William Ruto and other Heads of State from the East Africa region.
The 100-meter MV Uhuru II which was commissioned by retired President Uhuru Kenyatta in May 2021 has a capacity of carrying 22 wagons and an estimated capacity of 2 million litres of crude oil per trip.
The vessel is expected to augment MV Uhuru I which was built in 1966 in shipment of oil and other goods to Uganda and Tanzania through Lake Victoria.
Speaking in Kisumu during the Lake Region Blue Economy Multi-Agency Collaboration Framework meeting, Dr. Omollo said the initiative was part of the government’s plan to revive maritime trade and promote blue economy activities in Lake Victoria.
Other programmes in the pipeline, he said include the revival of piers in Siaya, Busia, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori counties and the construction of a ring road to connect the five counties.
The meeting which brought together stakeholders from 30 state agencies involved in the blue economy sector, he said was key in creating synergy to curb misallocation of resources.
“As a Ministry charged with the coordination of the national government, your coming together as agencies to spearhead blue economy activities within Lake Victoria basin makes our work quite easy,” he said.
He lauded efforts by the Lake Region Economic Bloc which comprises 14 counties in enhancing blue economic activities in the area.
The county governments, he added, must encompass the blue economy in their County Integrated Development Plans to ensure that the sector is mainstreamed.
This, he said, will ensure proper budgetary allocations for the sector at national and county government level to help achieve the blue economy dream.
Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) Board Chairman Hamisi Mwaguya called for collaboration with state and non-state actors to promote effective exploitation of blue economy resources.
KMA, he said, was committed to promoting maritime education and training at the same time enhancing maritime safety and security and providing effective coordination and governance in the blue economy sector.
“KMA is ready and willing and will always be your key partner in providing resource support for coordination of the implementation of the multi-agency action plan of the lake region,” he said.
KMA Managing Director John Omingo said the meeting was called to receive updates on the implementation status of the multi-agency action plan developed to guide on harnessing blue economy resources in Lake Victoria Basin.
The agency, he added, was working closely with other agencies including the Kenya Coast Guard to enhance safety within the lake.
By Chris Mahandara