Kenya and Denmark have signed a new civil deal to collaborate on maritime training and education as the country celebrates World Maritime Day today. Recently, Kenya was removed from the red list that it was placed in some years back due to increase in successful pirates attacks that made out territorial waters unsafe.
In the Memorandum of Understanding signed yesterday, Denmark will assist in training Kenyans working in the maritime sector with the necessary skills that will allow them to take advantage of employment opportunities in the Shipping and Maritime sector.
In a joint statement after the ceremony held at Transcom House and witnessed by PS State Department for Shipping and Maritime, Mrs Nancy Karigithu, Kenyas’ Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, Mr. James Macharia, and Mr. Ole Thonke, Ambassador of Denmark to Kenya, appreciated the close partnership that both countries have had particularly in maritime security since 2009.
“Both countries are great maritime nations that share many priorities, interests in this sector such as maritime safety, reduction of maritime pollution and protection of the marine environment,” read the statement.
The statement also noted that Denmark has previously supported training at the Kenya Navy Training School by providing a state-of-the-art simulator for nautical training. “We wish to build on this initial support by working towards sustainable blue growth and building a conducive framework for our maritime sectors”.
This milestone partnership comes into effect as the world marks this years’ World Maritime Day today, an annual celebration founded by the United Nations International Maritime Organisation (IMO). This year, the Day is celebrating the maritime industry’s contribution towards the world’s overall economy around the theme “Seafarers: At the Core of Shipping’s Future”.
Kenya and Denmark are among the countries which have since July 2020 opened their borders to seafarers for crew change during the Covid-19 pandemic thus allowing stranded seafarers to be able to return home after being aboard ships in the high-seas for many months.
“This is evidence that both our nations acknowledge the importance of seafarers, who kept global trade flowing during the pandemic. Both countries also prioritize quality education and training for our seafarers, as we believe that appropriately trained and qualified seafarers are key to securing global trade”.
On maritime security partnership, the two countries pointed out that their partnership was emboldened more following the upsurge of piracy in the Gulf of Aden in 2009. Since then, Kenya has come a long way in protecting its waters by collaborating with a number of international partners.
“As a result of these efforts, Kenya was this month removed from the red list of “High-Risk Waters”, said the statement, adding that this will translate into lower insurance rates for shipping companies and lower maritime costs, which in the medium term will lead to a more competitive Blue Economy for Kenya”.
Kenya has 230,000 square kilometres of territorial waters and a distance of 200 nautical miles offshore and additional 10,700 square kilometres of inland waters. Kenya’s Blue Economy thus holds a huge potential in terms of creating jobs and opportunities for Kenyans. Roughly, 90% of international trade to and from Kenya is carried by sea and handled at the port of Mombasa, which is the largest port in East Africa and a gateway to the entire region.
With the addition of Lamu Port there is a potential to increase Kenya’s regional (maritime) importance and increase the blue economy potential. Doing this in a way that promotes the implementation of the SDGs as well as sustainable and inclusive exploitation of the maritime domain is key.
Denmark is known as the sixth largest shipping nation in the world and the Danish maritime industry delivers state-of-the-art technological solutions to the global shipping fleet in the form of modern engines, ship paints, and propellers.