• Karigithu on Monday said KNSL is a Kenyan company with two shareholders. KPA is the majority shareholder.
• Coast MPs have vowed to shoot down any amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act.
Amendments will improve KNSL, enable it run CT2 – PS Karigithu
BY BRIAN OTIENO @Yobramos4 Monday, 27 May 2019
Maritime and Shipping PS Nancy Karigithu has said the proposed amendment to the Merchant Shipping Act is meant to enhance the capacity of the Kenya National Shipping Line.
The government wants to amend sections of the Act so as to have the KNSL run the second container terminal.
However, this has been opposed by Coast MPs, Dock Workers Union and a section of seafarers in the country, who say the KNSL is broke and has no capacity to run the second container terminal (CT2) at the Mombasa port.
On Monday, PS Karigithu dismissed this saying Coast politicians are misleading the residents by saying the government wants to give the CT2 to an Italian firm to run.
“We wanted to create local capacity and that is what we are trying to do by making the amendments. It is to build local capacity for our own shipping line,” said Karigithu.
She spoke to the press after the inaugural meeting of the Bandari Maritime Academy Board of Directors meeting at the College.
According to the Coast MPs, the government wants to use the back door to give the CT2 to Italian firm Mediterranean Shipping Company, which they say has the majority shareholding stake at KNSL.
However, Karigithu on Monday said KNSL is a Kenyan company with two shareholders.
“The KNSL is a Kenyan company. The shareholders are KPA and MSC. The majority shareholder is KPA,” said Karigithu.
She said the KNSL will improve once the proposed amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act go through.
“Absolutely! I have no doubts! I have no doubt in my mind that it is going to grow up to be the best,” said the PS when asked whether the amendment will ensure the KNSL improves.
Coast MPs have vowed to shoot down any amendments.
At the same time, the PS dismissed accusations by a section of seafarers in the country that she is responsible for the upheaval in the maritime sector.
A section of seafarers in Mombasa have been holding meetings with MPs from the Coast region to complain about theiur neglect.
They blame the PS for their woes, saying she has been favouring rogue seafarers who only benefit her.
However, the PS on Monday said she has only been working with validly elected and recognized seafarers in the Seafarers Union of Kenya.
“When we were reconstituting the union, we had various factions. We even had Seafarers Brotherhood and Seafarers Welfare. But we managed to get them to work together,” said Karigithu.
“These other teams that are appearing, I don’t know about them. I only know the validly elected and registered union,” the PS said.
She however said she wants to work with all seafarers without discrimination.
“Anybody with views on how to manage the affairs of the union is welcome. We are ready to work with everybody because what we are interested in is a seafarers union that supports government policy in terms of maritime capacity development, training and export of labour,” said Karigithu.
She asked the seafarers to speak in one voice.
She said KMA must work with SUK to ensure that seafarers are certificated and ready for recruitment to shipping lines.
The PS warned seafarers against falling prey to conmen who have been allegedly asking for money from seafarers in order to secure them jobs in shipping lines.
On Sunday, the Kenya Maritime Authority issued an alert warning seafarers against paying fees to anybody for alleged recruitment into a shipping line.
“Licensed recruitment and placement agents for seafarers shall not charge agency fees for recruitment services offered,” said KMA director general Maj (Rtd) George Nyamoko.
Nyamoko said Kenyan seafarers shall be recruited only through the licensed recruitment and placement agencies published on the Kenya Maritime Authority website.
These include Mombasa Ocean Agency, Alpha Logistics, Diverse Shipping Ltd, East Africa Deep Fishing Ltd and MSC Ship Management Limited.
“Any ship-owner, agent and or person who engages in the business of recruitment of Kenyan seafarers without a license from the Kenya Maritime Authority commits an offence and upon conviction shall be liable to a fine, imprisonment or both,” Nyamoko said in a statement.
Section 118 (3) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 2009, states that “No person shall, either as principal or agent, engage or recruit a Kenyan seafarer for employment on board a Kenyan or foreign ship, without first obtaining a license in the prescribed form from Kenya Maritime Authority authorising such person to engage or recruit Kenyan seafarers for sea service”.
KMA will Tuesday be conducting a routine review and update of its database on all Kenyans from the hospitality sector who are certified and ready to work as seafarers.
Karigithu on Monday said the government has put in place measures to ensure rogue recruiters are not dealt with by the law.
“We have taken notice, in social media, of purported interveners who are allegedly doing recruitment. People should not pay to be interviewed,” said Karigithu.
“We won’t have our seafarers stranded in Somalia, Indonesia, or any other place as has been the case,” said Karigithu.
She said recruitment, vetting and ensuring seafarers are ready for interviews is a responsibility of the Kenya Maritime Authority.
“We are getting ready to be able to recruit,” said the PS.