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KMA cracks down on unlicensed ship operators

All vessels that would have not been registered will be barred from Kenya

In Summary

• Every ship owner, operator, agent and or master ship of foreign flagged ship emust ensure the ship is registered

Kenya Maritime Authority headquarters in Mombasa.FILE
Kenya Maritime Authority headquarters in Mombasa.FILE

Kenya has directed all shipping lines operating within its inland and territorial waters to be register before June 1.

Kenya Maritime Authority director general George Okong’o on Tuesday said  vessels that contravene the directive would be barred from operating in the country.

In a public notice,  Okong’o said the the Merchant Shipping Act of 2009 restricts trading in Kenyan waters only to Kenyan-flagged ships.

He also said the Act further requires that every vessel of whatever length trading or operating solely within the territorial and inland waters of Kenyan must be licensed.

“Consequently, every ship owner, operator, agent and or master ship of foreign flagged ship engaged in trade in Kenyan waters, shall not later than June 1, 2019, ensure the ship is registered by the Registrar of Kenyan Ships,” said Okong’o.

The Kenya Shippers Council CEO Gilbert Langat said the enforcement of the Merchant Shipping Act is long overdue. 

“There is nothing wrong with that directive. They (KMA) are playing their regulatory role, because vessel registration is a requirement by the law,” said Langat.

He said there are so unlicensed vessels operating within Kenyan waters.

Some of these vessels operate within Mombasa-Lamu, Mombasa-Zanzibar, Shimoni-Zanzibar and Mombasa-Somali ports.

He said merchant ships that also operate locally, but belong to international companies must also have to be Kenyan flagged.

 

He said the directive however does not affect vessels that already have flags of other nations.