Lamu, KENYA: Security chiefs in Lamu County have asked all boat operators in Lamu island to ensure they are armed with all the necessary legal documentation permitting them to carry out their business.
They have also asked all boat owners to ensure their vessels are approved and registered with the necessary bodies including the Kenya Maritime Authority-KMA and the Kenya Ports Authority-KPA.
Speaking in his office shortly after meeting with the security committee on the island on Tuesday,Lamu county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri said his office had already ordered a crackdown on all sea vessels that don’t comply with the maritime regulations and that assured that all those arrested shall be promptly arraigned in court.
The commissioner said the number of marine officers had also been doubled in order to ensure maritime laws are observed and respected.
He warned passenger boat operators against overloading and over speeding in order to avoid accidents and fatalities.
Kanyiri has also cautioned passenger boat owners whose vessels don’t have the necessary safety gear that includes life jackets saying such vessels will be banned from operations and their owners charged for negligence.
He sad the move is aimed at reducing sea accidents and also to a larger extent stop some of the boat operators from being used by drug traffickers and criminals to propagate their intent.
“From today henceforth,all boat operators must carry with them licenses from the necessary bodies allowing them to conduct their business. Its therefore necessary to ensure each vessel is registered with the KMA or KPA.The crackdown is already on and those arrested shall serve as an example to the rest,”said Kanyiri.
At least 99% of movement and transport by Lamu residents is done at sea.
Lamu town alone has over 3000 boats with another over 5000 boats operating in Pate, Siyu, Faza, Kizingitini, Ndau, Mkokoni, Kiwayu and Kiunga islands in Lamu East.