Lack of rescue unit a risk to our lives, say Lamu sailors

A boat full of passengers lamu
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 19:37

By KALUME KAZUNGU

A boat full of passengers and cargo from Lamu Old Town heading to Kizingitini Island in Lamu East. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The lack of special marine disaster response and rescue units in the Lamu Indian Ocean waters is putting at risk the lives of hundreds of shippers and sailors in the region.

The Lamu channels are dangerous sailing zones and have witnessed a series of accidents in the past.

Shippers and sailors have been pushing for the establishment of disaster response units in order to save lives when such marine tragedies happen. However neither the county nor national government has taken any step to address their plight.

Boat operators and sea users who talked to Shipping on Tuesday said the government has always promised special rescue units when marine accidents occur, but the promises have not been fulfilled.

Hassan Awadh, the Lamu County Boat Operators Association Chairman, has challenged the County Government of Lamu, the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to act fast on the issue.

Mr Awadh said the lack of such a unit in Lamu is to blame for lost lives of many whenever accidents occur.

Common hotspots known for marine accidents in the Indian Ocean in Lamu are Mlango wa Tanu in Mkokoni, Mlango wa Ali in Kiwayu, Ndau and Mlango wa Bomani, which is an entrance to a channel connecting Kiunga harbour to the rest of the Indian Ocean. All these are in Lamu East.

Other black spots are Manda Bruno chan....

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