Lamu, KENYA: Over 500 boat owners from Lamu County were on Wednesday sensitized on the relevant maritime laws in order to facilitate full enforcement by the Kenya Maritime Authority-KMA.
The one day event which took place at the Mwana Arafa Hotel in Lamu town was aimed at sensitizing boat owners on the relevant maritime laws dealing with requirements necessary for safety of life at sea, maritime security, manning,offences and penalties for non-compliance with Merchant Shipping Act,2009.
Kenya Maritime Authority-KMA is a statutory body mandated to regulate, coordinate and oversee maritime affairs in Kenya.
Speaking at the event Head of Maritime Safety at the KMA Wilfred Kagimbi said the authority had deemed it vital to host the workshop in Lamu owing to the fact that maritime transport is the lifeline of the region with water being the main mode of transport.
Kagimbi said that owing to the fact that key stakeholders in Lamu are unaware of the required legal framework, it was important for the KMA to make safety awareness a key focus for boat owners, passengers and the persons transporting their cargo using maritime transport.
He appealed to boat operators to ensure their safety and that of passengers boarding their vessels is guaranteed by ensuring their vessels are fitted with the required gear and are up to standards laid down by the KMA.
He warned operators who insist on plying the trade without sufficient training and as a result risk the life of passengers and other maritime operators.
Kagimbi also urged operators to ensure their vessels are registered with the KMA before they are allowed onto the sea.
“Most of these operators we are aware have been openly flouting maritime rules. We have therefore assumed that they aren’t really aware of the rules and regulations and have therefore decided to spend an entire day with them in order to help them understand what goes and stays in the maritime world,”said Kagimbi.