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Kenya: Seafarers Want Government to Facilitate Them in Working Abroad

by kenya-tribune

Mombasa — The Seafarers Union of Kenya has appealed to the government to support thousands of seafarers who are to be employed in global shipping lines, but are unable to prepare for the journey due to financial constraints.

At least 4,500 Kenyans have landed jobs with international shipping lines with some already working abroad and others yet to join.

Addressing the media Thursday, the Union’s Secretary General Steven Owaki said that one seafarer needs at least Sh.150,000 to prepare for the journey but some are unable to raise the amount.

Owaki said that one cohort recruited in June failed to travel because they had no money to fund the requirements of the journey.

He noted that the salary scale for a seafarer working in an international ship is about Sh100, 000, thus asking the government to lend them money as there is a guarantee of paying back.

“We thank the government for getting into partnership with different shipping lines to create jobs under the blue economy sector, however, in order for this dream to become a reality to us let the government intervene and facilitate the seafarers where need be,” he said.

Chairman of the Union Joseph Kaemba echoed the sentiments saying that the programme that started in 2018 has been going on well with the country targeting to employ over 20,000 Kenyans by 2023.

Kaemba said the blue economy sector, if well managed, will help greatly in the revival of the economy.

He has asked the government to intervene and take action against those people maliciously conversing and, in the process, sabotaging the recruitment process.

The union representative said that some members have written to the shipping companies abroad and complained of discrimination in the recruitment process, which the leadership of the union strongly condemned.

“Seamen union wants the government to take serious actions against those people said to have written to shipping companies abroad advising them on matters that could be tabled within the union. This move has resulted in halting the recruitment process that was aimed to happen this December up to next year,” said Kaemba.

He added that cooperation between the seafarers and government is crucial as it will stop interference from external sources that might cost them opportunities yet they are expecting mass recruitment come next year.

“We can reach our target of employing even 100,000 people by 2023, this is possible if we do not bad mouth this course,” he said.