Kenya and Denmark have announced a new civil collaboration on maritime training and education.
Through an MOU which was signed between the two countries Last Thursday, Denmark will provide and 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.
A joint statement was signed and issued after the ceremony held at Transcom House, and which was Shipping and Maritime PS Mrs Nancy Karigithu, Transport CS James Macharia, and Ole Thonke, Ambassador of Denmark to Kenya who all 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,” said the statement.
According to the statement, 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 marked this years’ World Maritime Day, an annual celebration founded by the United Nations International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
This year, the day celebrated the maritime industry’s contribution towards the world’s overall economy around the theme “Seafarers: At the Core of Shipping’s Future”.
The statement pointed out that 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”.
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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 kilometers of territorial waters and a distance of 200 nautical miles offshore and additional 10,700 square kilometers of inland waters. Kenya’s Blue Economy thus holds a huge potential in terms of creating jobs and opportunities for Kenyans.
Roughly 90 percent 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.
The efforts by the Government of Kenya geared at expanding the Port of Mombasa and establishing a national fishing fleet and fishing ports, demonstrate Kenya’s commitment to the development of the maritime sector.
The Government of Kenya wants to increase the capacity of its fishers and seafarers with a strong focus on opportunities for the Kenyan youth.
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.
In 2019, the Danish maritime sector exported goods and services worth roughly USD 50 billion representing 26.5% of total Danish exports.
With the core competencies and strengths of the Danish maritime sector, the country aims to share expertise and knowledge and develop capacities further in close collaboration with the Government of Kenya.
This is aimed at enhancing effective trade flows, improve the enabling environment for maritime actors in Kenya, and protecting the marine environment.
This will facilitate the attainment of the SDGs focusing on life below water, climate action, and quality education.
Kenya and Denmark are committed to limiting the operating space for sub-standard vessels. This will result in cleaner air and water, to the benefit of marine life and coastal areas and the people dependent on these for their livelihood.