•Lake Victoria Basin Commission Executive Secretary Masinde Bwire said the commission has initiated multiple plans for improving maritime safety in Lake Victoria in the wake of increased accidents.
•He made the remarks in a Kisumu hotel when he officially opened the 22nd Sectoral Council of Ministers (SECOM-LVB) for Lake Victoria Basin.
The Lake Victoria Basin Commission Executive Secretary Masinde Bwire has expressed concern over increased marine accidents in Lake Victoria.
In August last year, more than 30 people were killed in separate accidents in Uganda and Tanzania.
However, Bwire said the commission has initiated multiple plans towards improving maritime safety in Lake Victoria in the wake of increased accidents.
“Already, the construction of an ultra-modern maritime rescue and coordination centre has kicked off in Ilemela, Mwanza region, in Tanzania,” said Bwire.
He made the remarks in a Kisumu hotel when he officially opened the 22nd Sectoral Council of Ministers (SECOM-LVB) for Lake Victoria Basin.
During the five-day meeting, various senior officials from the East African partner states analyze, review and give policy recommendations to the principal and permanent secretaries from relevant ministries for adoption.
He noted that upon completion in December this year, the centre which cost USD 1, 870, 00 will help in improving maritime safety within the East African community.
“A common telephone code of 110 that will help in improving coordination of rescue activities in the event of marine tragedy is also officially in use,” said Bwire
The African Development Bank is also funding the construction of an ultra-modern Maritime Training facility at the fisheries training centre for USD 1.4 million.
Bwire also informed the delegates from the partner states that the East African Community Research Vessel (RV Jumuiya) which has been docked at the Mwanza South port for over a decade is set to roar back to life.
The vessel has been out of service due to issues on its floating dock, expired certificates and lack of budget for maintenance and repair costs.
“These repairs were approved during the 19th meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin, held on June 22, 2018, in Entebbe, Republic of Uganda. Upon approval, the vessel underwent repairs for a few months in 2023, for USD 117,908.30,” added Bwire.
At the same time, the inaugural Lake Victoria Day will be celebrated in November this year.
The Lake Victoria Day is expected to be held at the regional level in the five partner states on a rotational basis, Bwire said.
The proposed theme for the 1st Lake Victoria Day is “Revive and Thrive: Uniting for Lake Victoria’s Future”.
The Lake Victoria Day will feature an array of activities including development partner forums, and scientific conferences discussing issues like sanitation, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), Climate Change, Capacity development of LVBC and sustainable development within LVB.
Bwire noted that construction of the second phase of the new Lake Victoria Basin Commission headquarters kicked off after officially handing over the site to the new contractor.
The second phase of construction which began in August last year will cost USD 2, 560,718.68).
The construction of the new Headquarters that will help in promoting regional integration is fully funded by the East African Partner States, he added.