The Seafarers Union of Kenya (SUK) has commended government support in reviving the sector.
Speaking in Mombasa, General Secretary, Steve Owaki said they have seen vigorous efforts in tapping into the potential that exists in the maritime sector and to a large extent the Blue Economy where Kenyans are getting jobs.
”We are happy that at least Kenyan seafarers with valid documents are able to get a job aboard seagoing vessels either in cargo, an oil tanker, fishing or cruise ships,” Owaki said.
He said that the existing agreement between the government and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has employed over 500 Kenyan youth aboard MSC Cruise ships.
”Kenyan have been excelling in their work and putting pressure on more Kenyans to be sourced for future assignments,” Owaki said.
Owaki said they are glad that Kenya joined Djibouti in allowing crew change to take place in their Port cities following the global lockdown brought about by the Coivd-19 pandemic.
”Due to government restrictions, seafarers were not allowed to leave ships once they dock at various ports in a bid to contain the spread of COVID -19. After several measures administered by the World Health Organisation and subsequent Government Health Ministries, this was eased,” he disclosed.
He added that as a result, 30 Kenya seafarers have taken up jobs aboard six fishing vessels that docked at the Port last week and embarked on a fishing voyage within Kenyan waters.
”This move has ensured that our jobless seafarers with valid documents have landed jobs. We hope many more investors will pitch camp in Kenya and offer our people the much-needed jobs,” he said.
On his part SUK Chairman, Mwalimu Hamisi said that they are committed to ensuring that they work closely with the government for the benefit of all Kenyan seafarers.
Hamisi said that as a union they will remain committed to working with the government to ensure that seafarers enjoy maximum government protection and that their welfare is taken care of.
He urged seafarers to ensure they follow the right procedure by informing the union and the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) whenever in their individual capacities they land jobs on vessels.