MARITIME SAFETY IN KENYA
29. 04. 2005
The repeated midstream stalling of the ferries at Mombasa are an indication for a Maritime disaster in the looming and maybe another environmetnal ctastrophy like the recent oil-spill on the horizon.
The cases are a clear indication that the Kenya Ferry Services Management has lost its focus and sense of direction.
For instance their explanation of the steering failure and the flat bottom is unsatisfactory and unprofessional.
It is therefor illogical to have an internal succession for the CEOís post.
The pressing issues concerning the ferries confirm it can only be a competent person from outside the establishment who will be able and willing to uncover all the mal-practices that are deeply rooted within KFS.
KFS needs a person who will restore the confidence to the commuterís safety and Marine Life and Ecosystem.. KFS needs technological experts and not political appointees.
For safer ferries and cleaner seas we highly recommend that the attitude of the Kenya Ferry Staff from top to bottom should be overhauled and a domestic ship safety code should be established in the country.
The domestic ship safety code could be designed inhouse and approved by the Kenya Maritime Authority.
SAP strongly believes that KFS can overcome the midstream stalling of their ferries if only the ferries are in the hands of efficient maintenance team.
There is also a need to review the structure and operations of KFS with a view of ensuring that it has the capacity to enforce the necessary safety standards set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Proper regulation of the Ferry Services, maintenance and supervision would probably have spared Kenya the ferry tragedy of April 1994 when Mtongwe 1 capsized killing over 270 people and injuring 370 others.
KFS, as it is constituted today cannot adequately fulfill its public mandate and there is a need to establish a Kenya Ferries Corporation, (KFC) to oversee the management, operation and running of ferries in all waters of the country and in a most efficient way.
By doing so KFC will relieve the country of many problems currently experienced in this maritime transport sector. Insurance of ferries is indeed another crucial ascpect and there is an urgent need to have a compulsory insurance of both ferries and passengers.
Seafarers Assistance Program
P.O. Box 92273
Cell:00254 721 393458
Fax: 00254 41 230001