Eleven Kenyan seafarers have secured employment with Spanish flagged vessels involved in fishing within Western Indian Ocean rim.
The seafarers left aboard the vessels RV Alaxtru and RV Txori-Bat on Sunday and will work for four months renewable contracts as the number of Kenyans securing jobs with international shipping companies increases after easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
Kenya has allowed sailors to disembark from ships for the next three months as it relaxed restrictions imposed on seafarers to combat the spread of coronavirus.
A local shipping agent, Mombasa Ocean Agency Chief Executive Officer Idd Musa said the crew that secured jobs underwent mandatory Covid-19 tests and were placed on 14 days quarantine at Mombasa Beach Hotel.
“We are delighted with the increased number of Kenyan seafarers getting employment in international vessels,’’ said Musa at Mombasa Port before the seafarers sailed into the deep sea.
He said the eleven seamen will work as deck hands and engine room staff for a four-month renewable contract and added that another 200 seafarers are expected to be hired before the end of the 2020.
Musa said the multi-agency team comprises of Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Fisheries Service, Immigration Department, Port Health Department and the Kenya Ports Authority was working closely to improve the maritime sector.
The Seafarers Union of Kenya (SUK) said the government intervention to streamline the Maritime Industry is yielding fruits as more Kenyans are now securing shipping jobs.
SUK Secretary General Steve Owaki lauded the government for introducing measures to improve the maritime sector and seafaring in the country.
Owaki said Kenyan seafarers with valid documents are now able to secure jobs in cruise, cargo and fishing vessels.
The SUK official said due to the existing agreement between the government and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), over 500 Kenyan youth had been employed aboard MSC Cruise ships before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.