• April 14, 2024
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Seafarers call for reduction of training fees to attract youth to the maritime sector

Seafarers call for reduction of training fees to attract youth to the maritime sector

Mombasa

Monday, 11 March 2024

KNA by Sadik Hassan

The Seafarers Union of Kenya (SUK) has urged the government to reduce training costs for The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

The union says the mandatory maritime course is out of reach of many youth thus locking them from job opportunities in international vessels.

The ten-day training course at the Bandari Maritime Academy costs Sh35,000, but the union want it to be reduced to Sh20,000.

The Union Secretary General Atie Swaleh said during a consultative meeting with seafarers in Mombasa that if the government reduced the training fees it would open doors of opportunities for seafarers to seek jobs in foreign vessels.

Ms Swaleh also called for the harmonisation of seafarers’ salaries so as not to be exploited by foreign vessels who are paying Kenyans less compared to other countries.

“We have no wage standards making Kenyan seafarers vulnerable to exploitation by some ship companies,” said Ms Swaleh, adding, that if the wage standards is set Kenyans will reap the fruits of their labour.

After years of leadership wrangles that had jeopardized the operations of the giant Seafarers union, the new leadership have vowed to work closely with the government for members to benefit from government interventions in the blue economy.

The SUK Chairman Mwalimu Chii urged seafarers to shun divisions and unite to actualize their career aspirations.  “Ship companies have started to request us to nominate personnel to work in their vessels,” said Chii.

The Chairman further urged senior seafarers to pass their experience to the youth through mentorship.

Kenya Coast Blue Economy (KECOBE) Chairman Mbwana Abdalla said they have established a maritime training institute to train youth to fill the gap that the ageing seafarers in the country will create.

He said the Coast Blue Economy Training Institute (COBETI), situated in Old Town, will train more youths in maritime courses.  

“Most seafarers are ageing, for our youths to get employment in the maritime sector they need certification. We realized the need to teach our youths who have just finished school maritime courses for them to get employment in vessels,” he said.

Courtesy K.N.A

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