Kenya wants the 20-member States of the Indian Ocean to deploy fully skilled and trained personnel to police and monitor the regions Ocean space to guarantee ships safety, security and protection of marine environment.

Fishermen in a boat going for fishing in Indian Ocean in Kilifi County on June 25, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG 

The Ministry of Transport wants more countries with ports in the Indian Ocean to cooperate in the implementation of instruments contributing to both collaboration and effective Ocean governance in the region

Ministry of Transport assistant director for shipping and maritime, Beatrice Nyamoita, who chairs the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) Port State Control Committee, told delegates at a conference in Cape Town, South Africa that the port States have to protect the marine environment.

The meeting brought together 20 Indian Ocean rim countries to deliberate on the ships safety, security and protection of marine environment.

The countries include Kenya, Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, France, India, Iran, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Susan, Tanzania, Yemen and South Africa.

“Seafarers also play an important role to ensure ships are in good state. Port States should ensure that good maritime standards are in place,” Ms Nyamoita said.

Ms Nyamoita said during the past four years, there have been no appeal on ship detentions. She said this shows the Port States control is effective in the region.

“In the recent time, new legislation have come for the protection of marine environment. It’s a challenge for most states to ensure that Port States are well-versed with requirement of new legislation to ensure that ships are not unduly detained,” she said.

She challenged member States to ratify all instruments on IOMOU and ensure they are enshrined in national legislation.

“There is need to ensure that member authorities put the mandatory instruments in their national legislation.From 2018 annual report published by secretariat, it is noted that there are only 15 member authorities engaged in Port State inspection out of which three members have a single digit inspection figure and two members have less than 20 inspections. This figures are not very encouraging,” she said.

Some member authorities, she added are yet to start Port State Committee activities while some are yet to attain minimum target of 10 percent of inspections of the total number of vessels docking in their ports.

Ms Nyamoita said Port States have to promote standards to improve marine safety and pollution prevention.