Merchant Shipping Act.
year 2002 was an important commemorative year in Kenya.
It was the year the ignoble regime of Daniel Arap Moi was
conquered, and 54 years since the Universal Declaration of Human
was also the year the task force on the review of maritime laws of
Kenya was appointed to review maritime laws in Kenya and make
appointment of the task force on the review of maritime laws was a
major milestone in the efforts by the country to redress the
weaknesses of the outdated Merchant Shipping Act.
May 2003 the task force came up with a report which contains
comprehensive recommendations of which are believed to be an
important contribution to the process of transforming Kenya into a
world class maritime nation.
is disheartening to note here in that since last May when the task
force submitted the final report to Hon. Attorney General the
government of Kenya has been back –peddling on this important
this is a serious violation of seafarers’ rights we call upon
the government of Kenya to urgently take appropriate action unto
majority of Kenyan Seafarers are unemployed and this is due to the
lack of training as required in terms of the international
Standards of Training and Certification of Watch keeping for
seafarers (STCW-95) of which has been brought about by the
outdated maritime laws of Kenya.
Kenya Merchants Shipping Act is derivative of the UK Merchant
Shipping Act of 1894, which has since been amended severally while
our act has remained the same.
current Act is over 35 years old, outdated and does not cover the
important international shipping and maritime legislation
conventions to which Kenya is a party.
inadequacy of the current Merchant Shipping Act has also been the
disability of Kenya to meet the minimum requirements for the
acceptance into IMO’s “white list” of nations, which have
complied with the STCW-95 convention.
has been a stumbling block to Kenyan merchant mariners, as they do
not qualify for employment on foreign and local owned ocean –
has 3,280 seafarers comprised of merchant navy officers, marine
engineers, divers, ratings and fish workers. Only 20% are
part from the fragmented and scarce maritime education in Kenya
there is also lack of maritime policy, which has been a major
setback to the development of Kenya’s maritime activities.
has contributed to the domination by foreign shipping agencies who
control over 80% of the maritime services industry in Kenya of
which is contrary to United Nations Conference Liner on Trade and
hurts very much to say that Kenyan seafarers and other seafarers
calling the port of Mombasa are working aboard sub-standard ships.
Because the Merchant Shipping Act fails to give the
Merchant Shipping Superintendent the legal basis to inspect the
ships that call on our seaports in order to enhance safety of
this is a serious violation of seafarers’ rights we once again
call upon the government of Kenya to urgently address this matter.
Merchant Shipping Act, is the principal maritime legislation in
Kenya. It makes
provision for the registration and licensing of ships and ship
owners, safety of navigation, oil pollution, ship inspection and
maritime casualties including salvage.
Act has been amended in 1967, 1968, 1973 and in 1981.