A government multi-agency team has assisted bring back 10 Kenyan seafarers who were abandoned in Mozambique.
Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) Director General, Maj (Rtd) George Nyamoko Okong’o, Speaking during a media briefing attended by the 10 repatriated seafarers and representatives from the Seafarers Union of Kenya in Mombasa Friday, said the government was not going to sit and watch its people suffer regardless of the circumstances surrounding their situation.
Okong’o said the seafarers sought rescue after they were abandoned by their employer and their ship ran out of fuel, with no lighting and provisions onboard including fresh water and ship stores.
“On receipt of the abandonment report from the Kenyan crew onboard MV Nina, the Authority commenced into the matter guided by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention, 2006,” said the Director General.
He said the Authority reported the issue to the Mozambique Port Control which led to detention of the ship following a requirement for it to address the issues raised.
It was revealed that the ship owner had not signed the seafarer’s employment agreements with the Kenyan crew as required.
During the investigations, the crew’s passports had been confiscated by the Mozambique Port and Immigration officials during the Port State Control Inspection conducted in October, 2019.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the state department for Shipping and Maritime facilitated the release of the Kenyan crew passports from immigration department in Pemba.
However, seafarers have been cautioned against accepting recruitment by agents not licensed by the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) since they expose themselves to the infringement of their rights and freedom as they are not covered by the insurance policies and have no safety net if abandoned.
The KMA urged Seafarers to contact the Authority’s seafarers Registrar’s office for assistance in matters of employment agreements with crewing agencies and any other queries.