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Italian cruise ship hires 80 Kenyan youth for sea jobs

Cruise ship Msc Meraviglia in the high seas. [File, Standard]

Some 80 Kenyan youth have been hired by MSC Cruises, an Italian shipper, to work onboard its ships.

Speaking at an event to introduce the newly hired seafarers, Secretary General of the African Maritime Journalists Association George Sunguh asked them to take advantage of the opportunities.

He said sterling performance at work will entice other global shipping companies to target recruiting from Kenya which has a rich pool of seafaring labour.

Steve Owaki, a seafarers mentor, commended MSC for helping support the local blue economy. He said this is a good thing at a time when Kenya’s premier maritime institution, the Bandari Maritime Academy (BMA) is churning out hundreds of graduates for the maritime labour market.

“We are seeing a steady flow of graduate cadets coming out of BMA and other reputable colleges that offer marine-related studies. However sea time placement remains a big hurdle,’’ he said.

Outgoing Shipping and Maritime Principal Secretary Nancy Karigithu welcomed the move to hire Kenyan seafarers.

“Today makes me take a trip down memory lane, to that day in 2018 when 15 Kenyans were recruited by MSC Cruises to work on the ships,’’ she said.

Karigithu said Kenya was anxious to prove to the world that it has some of the best seafarers who are capable of serving in world-class ships. 

“We know that Kenyan youth are hardworking, resilient, bright and are quick learners if only they had the right opportunities,’’ she said.

She added that over 1,000 Kenyan seafarers work aboard MSC Cruise-liners with the shipping world getting keen to take even more.

“We now have Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, Vikings, Carnival Cruises and Apollo Group on our shores. Let’s seize the moment,’’ she said.