President calls for better seafarers training, incentives for ship owners

President Uhuru Kenyatta unveils a plaque during the commissioning of the Kenya Shipyards Limited at Mtongwe. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the National Treasury and the Blue Economy Committee to implement bold measures that would spur economic growth and create jobs for the youth.

Speaking during the commissioning of a shipyard at the Kenya Navy headquarters in Mtongwe, Mombasa, yesterday, Uhuru called for the setting up of a comprehensive seafarers training programme for 4,000 qualified seafarers.

At the same time, he ordered the opening of the country ship register as well as the provision of incentive packages for ship owners who want to register vessels in Kenya.

A registry gives a ship a nationality or a flag as a form of identity and the State has the right to protect it, according to international law.

A ship that would fly the Kenyan flag will employ Kenyan seafarers’ jobs and also will be repaired at the new established Kenya Shipyards Ltd in Mombasa. Uhuru also ordered that the two government agencies come up with a fiscal framework zero rating the importation of fishing vessels.

“The blue economy which include maritime logistics, fisheries as well as shipbuilding and repair, I believe, are low hanging fruits that must be exploited by our country,” he said.

Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi, CS Eugene Wamalwa and ODM leader Raila Odinga were present.