KMA trains Lamu sailors on dealing with oil spills

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Lamu, KENYA: The Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) Lamu office has commenced a four day training workshop to equip sailors, shippers and stakeholders with knowledge and skills to enable them avoid oil pollution while out at sea.

The training, which started on Monday, aims at highlighting precautionary measures to avoid sea pollution and the need for prompt and effective action to minimize the damage which may result from oil pollution in the Indian Ocean.

Addressing stakeholders at the hotel on Tuesday,KMA Director General George Okong’o noted that Lamu was witnessing a rise in shipping and petroleum activities and as such the KMA was keen to ensure locals are equipped with knowledge on how to deal with arising oil spills in the sea.

Okong’o noted that the ongoing offshore and onshore oil and gas expeditions in Lamu carry an increased risk of marine pollution.

There is also an ongoing process to commence the construction of the Lokichar-Lamu crude oil pipeline which Okong’o says calls for heightened attention owing to probable oil spills.

The crude oil pipeline is a major component of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor –LAPSSET project

“Recently, there has been increased petroleum activities both offshore and onshore in search of oil and gas with discoveries already made onshore. These discoveries increase the risks for pollution incidents on our waters. Lamu County has also seen a rise in development activities both in shipping and petroleum activities. The KMA is mindful of the importance of precautionary measures in avoiding pollution incidences and the need for prompt and effective action to minimize the damage which may result from oil pollution,” said Okong’o.

He said as a result, together with other stakeholders, KMA had formulated the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan whose purpose of to provide a framework on how KMA, government agencies and other players need to respond to oil spill emergencies in the Indian Ocean.

“This workshop therefore aims at testing the effectiveness of the Contingency Plan in responding to its intended purpose. The objective of the workshop is to enhance knowledge of shoreline clean-up strategies for the type of oil spilled, the type of shoreline impacted and the equipment available, in the context of developing and strengthening the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan and management systems,” he added.

The workshop brings together participants from different government ministries, departments, agencies as well as private stakeholders and NGO’s with roles in responding to marine spills.

The maritime body says the workshop will also serve as a starting point for the formulation of an oil spill contingency plan for Lamu County which will help the County in responding to oil spill incidents.

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