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Why Kenya needs to train more seafarers

By Philip Mwakio | July 29th 2021

Beneficiaries of the blue economy train at Bandari College in Mombasa on June 10, 2019. They were among 40 Kenyan seafarers who joined cruise ships. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Kenya has not invested enough in human resource development and technology in the maritime sector, a State official has said.

Speaking in Mombasa last week, Shipping and Maritime Affairs Principal Secretary Nancy Karigithu said despite making strides in seafaring, the country needs more trained cadres in maritime.

Dr Karigithu said, traditionally, maritime education and training were associated with the training of seafarers.

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers 1978 explains training programmes and courses as well as other maritime-related sector skills. 

"The quality and adequacy of these training programmes are the bedrock of a safe shipping industry," Dr Karigithu said.

"This was emphasised in the 2015 International Maritime Organisation World Maritime Day celebrations themed Maritime Education and Training. Former IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu said without a motivated, trained and skilled labour force, to international standards, shipping cannot thrive."

She noted that research indicates Kenya lags behind other countries in South, West and North Africa in regard to human resource capacity for the maritime sector.

The PS explained that the maritime industry is in need of competent cadres.

"To adequately address the issues of training and expertise, there is need to enhance Maritime Education and Training activities at various levels," Karigithu said.

She noted that a good initiative towards this effort is the recent signing of an agreement with the French Shipping Company CMA CGM and another one with the City of Glasgow College that well see more Kenyan seafarers trained.

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