22. 07. 2004
We like to express our most sincere gratitude to the head of state His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki for the establishment of the Kenya Maritime Authority (See Kenya Gazette Notice No. 79).
However, it hurts very much to note here that for a very long time now, the administration of the Merchant Shipping Act and the implementation of International Standards in Shipping has been constrained by Section 312 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1967, which gives the Minster for Transport and Communications general superintendence over all matters relating to Merchant Shipping and Seafarers.
Under Section 313, the Minister delegates this under the Act to the Merchant Shipping Superintendent (MSS). Whilst the Ministry Headquarters is based in Nairobi and the Merchant Shipping Superintendent is based in Mombasa, which is some 500 kilometers away from Nairobi. Truly, this does not allow for the smooth operation of maritime affairs in the Country.
In addition, the office of the Merchant Shipping Superintendent is itself a creation of an ad hoc Ministerial Statement, which lacks the legal standing necessary for a proper maritime administration.
The Merchant Shipping Superintendent is supposed to be a Government employee but is in fact appointed by the Kenya Ports Authority.
This is an anomaly as it places the Port in the position of a provider and supervisor of maritime services.
The establishment of the new state corporation to oversee maritime activities in the country will separate the maritime administration from the Kenya Ports Authority and the Ministry.
Duties of the Authority shall be to:
* Provide and co-ordinate search and rescue operations and undertake accident
* Formulate general guidelines and provide basic information for the maritime transport
* Undertake functions necessary for the safety of Kenya’s maritime transport sector; and
* Ensure that national maritime legislation for the implementation of international maritime conventions that Kenya is and becomes party to, are developed in accordance with international standards.
Since the establishment of the Maritime Authority will transform Kenya into a world class maritime nation it would be appropriate and appreciated if the authority could be governed by Chairman and a Board of Directors of integrity with knowledge and experience in matters relating to the regulations of the Shipping Industry, Seafarers Welfare, Maritime Safety, Ports and Harbours, and Maritime Security, but not be mere Political Appointees.
Given that, the director general shall be the chief executive of the authority, we suggest that she / he must be a merchant mariner with not less than 18 years sea time working aboard foreign ocean-going vessels and he / she must be an intelligent person of integrity and not a political
Seafarers Assistance Program
P.O. Box 92273
Cell:00254 721 393458
Fax: 00254 41 230001