Permanent Representation Of Kenya To The International Maritime Organization (IMO)
The Republic of Kenya became a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquartered in London in 1973.
As a member state of IMO, Kenya holds special interests in maritime transport and navigation as the coastal, port and flag State whose strategic location along the Eastern Africa coast. Kenya has a land area that is approximately 582,650 Km2, bordering the Indian Ocean and Somalia to the East, South Sudan and Ethiopia to the North, Uganda to the West and Tanzania to the South.
The total sea area is approximately 221,778 Km2, with anExclusive Economic Zone stretching 350 nautical miles and strategic inland waterbodies covering approximately 10,812 Km2. The Kenyan coastline lies along major maritime trading and tanker routes betweenEurope, the Far East and the Americas.
The Kenyan Port of Mombasa is the largest and most important gateway to the Eastern and Central Africa region. Indeed the Port serves a large number of countries through what is commonly known as the Northern Corridor that brings together Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia and northern parts of Somalia under the NorthernTransit Transport Corridor Agreement, in a region that hosts a combined population of over three hundred (300) million people.
Kenya is a current member of the IMO Council continuously since 2001.
Kenya & the IMO
Kenya has up to date ratified a total of 27 Conventions emanating from the IMO and maintained a strong association with the Organization as an active participant in all its meetings of the Assembly, Council and the five Committees. Kenya’s strategic geo-location along the East African coast and eminent profile among the community of nations has defined her position and role at IMO. The country’s willingness and resolve to tackle current-day global and regional challenges related to shipping have earned the country international respect.
Military operations by Kenyan troops in Somalia, especially in and around Kismayu – previously the bedrock of Somali piracy – are directly linked to the near-eradication of piracy in the Indian Ocean. As a result, global shipping has been saved billions of dollars from the reduction in insurance premiums that had seen astronomical hikes at the height of the piracy scourge between 2005 and 2012. Ship-owners have also been saved from the heavy cost incurred on shipboard counter-piracy measures.
Following the Consultative Meeting on Acts of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Vessels that was convened by the Government of Kenya in Nairobi in November 2008 High-Level International Conference on Piracy was hosted by Kenya in December 2008. The country thereafter offered its national courts for the prosecution of suspected pirates leading as a result of which a total of one hundred and seventy-three pirates have since been convicted to serve their jail terms in Kenyan prisons.
Kenya takes its role in IMO very seriously and has ratified many of the Conventions emanating from the Organisation. A major and comprehensive review of its maritime legislation resulted in the enactment of a new Merchant Shipping Act in 2009, taking on board all the conventions that Kenya has ratified. In April 2015, Kenya ratified Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks. Kenya ratified the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks by handing over the instrument of ratification to IMO Secretary-General on the day the Convention entered into force internationally (14 April, 2015). The Convention will enter into force for Kenya in three months’ time. This was a great achievement as the convention was initiated in Nairobi during the diplomatic conference of 2007.
IMO has regional presence offices located in Nairobi (Kenya) based on Memoranda of Understanding signed between IMO and the host Governments. The regional coordinator plays an important role in the management and execution of the Integrated Technical Co-operation Programmes (ITCP). It also works closely with national, regional institutions/organizations and Regional Economic Commissions (RECs). Since the launch of the IMO RegionalPresence Offices in Africa, in 1999, the delivery of technical support to Africa has increased.
Kenya has been admitted to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)white list. This means that Kenya is in full compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping of Seafarers (STCW). By entering the Whitelist, the country can train seafarers who can work in foreign going vessels and that maritime certificates and other endorsements from Kenya will be recognised all over the world. There is a serious manpower shortage of seafarers worldwide with the international market currently facing an acute shortage. The white listing provides an opportunity of creating massive employment for the youth Kenya.