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Navy warship in Spain may arrive soon

BUSIA
By | August 18th 2011

By PHILIP MWAKIO

The Government is confident of ending the stalemate over a Kenya Navy warship currently holed up at a Spanish shipyard over contractual differences.

Speaking at the Kenya Navy headquarters in Mtongwe, Mombasa, Wednesday, Defence Minister Yusuf Haji said both the Attorney General and the Minister for Finance are expected to spearhead the acquisition process.

"Negotiations are ongoing and we hope to finalise everything in the near future,’’ the minister said.

Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi (right) shakes hands with Warrant Officer One Steven Mwanzia, a Drum Major in the Kenya Navy Band.  [PHOTO: OMONDI ONYANGO/STANDARD]

The ship christened KNS Jasiri, an offshore patrol craft, was ordered in 2003 at a cost of Sh4.1 billion and was due for delivery in 2005.

A contractual dispute between the Kenya Government and the main contractor Euromarine (with Spanish ship builder Astilleros Gondan) has delayed the ship’s delivery to the Kenya Navy.

The ship is expected to enable Kenya Navy operate at the extremities of the Indian Ocean continental shelf.

Complete Upgrade

Haji made the remarks after officiating at the arrival of two Kenya Navy ships, fast patrol crafts KNS Nyayo and KNS Umoja, which had gone for midlife refit (complete upgrade) in Italy.

Italian shipbuilder, Fincantieri carried out the exercise, which involved replacement of almost a third of structures on each ship.

"We are proud to gather here today to welcome the officers and men on these two vital crafts after a two and half year absence,’’ Haji said.

Haji thanked the Government for providing funds for the exercise and said that with the two ships, the Navy would be able to perform its core mandate of protecting the Kenyan seafront against external aggression.

"We know that piracy threats along the Indian Ocean have been a bother. Our Navy has remained robust despite the many constraints facing it,’’ he said.

He added that one month ago, the Navy took delivery of another vessel, KNS Harambee.

"This is in line with the ministry’s desire to have Kenya Navy well equipped to face current maritime challenges,’’ he said.

Chief of Defence Forces, General Julius Karangi, said that Kenyan military was always prepared to guard its territory against enemies.

Present during the ceremony were Kenya Navy Commander Major General Mukala Ngewa, Deputy Navy Commander Brigadier John Waweru and other senior military officers and relatives of sailors onboard the two ships.

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