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Kenya develops maritime security strategy to protect its waters

Plan will ensure country benefits from the huge potential that exists in the blue economy

In Summary
  • The ocean, he said, is key to Kenya’s ability to protect the welfare of the ecosystem.
  • PS said the blue economy will create major industries that will provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of Kenyans, both directly and indirectly.
EAC PS Kevit Desai at Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa on Monday.
GOVERNMENT VIEW EAC PS Kevit Desai at Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa on Monday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Kenya is in the process of developing a maritime security strategy to secure its waters.

The strategy will ensure the country benefits from the huge potential of the blue economy.

In a three-day workshop that began on Monday in Mombasa and supported by the International Maritime Organisation, the government said it is in the process of ensuring it complies with all requirements of the delicate maritime sector.

Based on the IMO maritime security model, Kenya needs to first establish a National Maritime Security Committee that will ensure all agencies involved work together.

The committee will also help develop a National Maritime Risk Register that will identify threats and vulnerabilities, on which the National Maritime Security Strategy will be based.

“This workshop not only address what Kenya has identified as priority but also what the region has through the Djibouti Code of Conduct, of which Kenya is a key signatory out of the 20 signatory countries,” said Kiruja Micheni, who is the Djibouti Code of Conduct project manager under the IMO.

EAC PS Kevit Desai said the government’s focus is to ensure it builds further capacity and consolidate the country’s investment plans as far as its blue economy is concerned.

Kenya wants to improve its level of competitiveness in transport and logistics and serve the African continent through the EAC.

“This initiative promotes the necessary foundation with respect to an enabling security environment and maritime affairs,” Desai said.

The ocean, he said, is key to Kenya’s ability to protect the welfare of the ecosystem.

It also provides huge opportunities for maximising the vast potential of the maritime resource, the PS added.

He said the blue economy will create major industries that will provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of Kenyans, both directly and indirectly.

“All these require a higher level of security and community policing for it to be turned into reality.”

He said the government is keen to develop policies, legislations, regulations and standards that will promote the necessary investment and further infrastructural and capacity development.

The workshop, which ends on Wednesday, aims to develop a strategy that has input from key stakeholders and government ministries.

This will include a risk register that will measure the security performance of the maritime sector and also to open up further engagements with partners for future development.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the current chairman of the EAC Summit, will be expected to promote necessary protocols and standards to help the region harness the maritime sector’s huge potential.

Micheni said the IMO is happy to partner with and support Kenya in developing her National Maritime Security Strategy.

He described Kenya as a leading regional player in the maritime sector, who has made great strides in developing a maritime economy.

“But you cannot have maritime development without security and therefore it is our view that agencies must work together in making this a reality,” he said.

Over the years, areas where gaps have been, have been identified.

“We are hoping the strategy, when working on the Maritime Risk Register, will identify the gaps and how to deal with them,” Micheni said.

These include cooperation among governments and protection of the maritime sectors in different countries from overexploitation of the maritime resources by foreign vessels, a problem that has been identified in Kenya as one of the major threats.

One of the gaps identified is Maritime Domain Awareness.

MDA is the effective understanding of anything associated with the global maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment of a country.

MDA is a key component of an active, layered maritime defence.

It is important for a country to know who the enemy is at the sea, the workshop heard.

“The committee will have to come up with a national plan to enhance MDA to address what is often referred to as seas blindness.

“Sometimes we might say there is illegal fishing out there, but are we constantly monitoring effectively our waters to know exactly what is happening out there and do we have the response capability?” posed Micheni.

 

 

-Edited by SKanyara

IMO's Kiruja Micheni at Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa on Monday.
STRATEGIC IMO's Kiruja Micheni at Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa on Monday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI
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