The first ever locally assembled fishing vessel will be inaugurated on Thursday next week.
Built specifically for Mombasa fishermen through a joint venture between the county government and the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), MV Mombasa 001 sailed out for sea trials yesterday and cruised 20 nautical miles (35 kilometres) from the Port of Mombasa.
In an interview with The Standard yesterday, County Executive in charge of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr Anthony Njaramba said the vessel will be officially inaugurated by Governor Hassan Ali Joho and KCB CEO Joshua Oigara at the Old Town harbour.
Last year, the county government and KCB Foundation embarked on the Sh60 million boat project, which is expected to support over 4,000 local fishermen.
“We are expanding this venture already and hope to have 14 fishing vessels by the year 2018,” Njaramba said.
The new vessel will enable fishermen to venture into deep sea fishing to enable them land bigger catches.
MV Mombasa 001 was built at the county fisheries boat yard by Kenyan artisans.
The boat with a capacity for ten crew members can stay out in the ocean for over a month without having to dock for amenities.
It is fitted with a 235 horse power engine; sleeping area; cooking area; fish storage cold stores and fresh water tanks.
“The deployment of this vessel will empower and drastically improve the daily catch of Mombasa fishermen who have been using dug-out canoes to fish in the deep seas, which only end-up endangering their lives,” Joho said.
The vessel was built in close collaboration with Mombasa’s Beach Management Units (BMUs) which are responsible for all fishermen along the Coastal belt of Kenya.
“This is part of the county government’s vision of ensuring that all 14 BMUs eventually have modern boats to venture into deep sea fishing,” said Njaramba.
Governor Joho signed the partnership with the KCB foundation on August 29, 2015 where both parties committed to contribute Sh30 million towards the project.
Each of the 14 vessels to be constructed locally have a capacity to land 10 tonnes of fish. But fishermen will have an initial target of three tonnes a week.
“This will give them (fishermen) an income of Sh600, 000 per week, which translates to 100 times what they earn currently. This project will also give birth to the boat-making industry in Mombasa County,” said Njaramba.
Each boat will cost between Sh15 million and Sh20 million compared to Sh60 million for imported ones.