31 December 2013

Kenya: Seafarers Call for Increased Safety At Port

THE Seafarers Union of Kenya has condemned increased ships accidents docked at the Mombasa port and at the container terminals.

SUK secretary general Andrew Mwangura yesterday told the Star there is an average of 50 accidents at the port everyday.

He called for review of health and safety services at the port.

Mwangura said they have lost more than 1,100 workers between 1983 and 2013.

He said more than 300 have been seriously injured while working on board sea vessels.

Mwangura said the KPA safety department should work closely with the Operations Department and the Commercial Department.

"The safety department has expressed concern in the working practices particularly in the container operations, steel cargo operations and car carriers, but nothing is done until accidents occur," he said.

Mwangura said in the month of October only, three fatal and other minor accidents were reported at the port.

The most recent incident was on October 30, aboard German flagged ship, MV Zella Oldendorf where a day worker lost his life following a fatal accident while in the line of duty at berth number 11.

"Details concerning the death of this worker are still scarce," said Mwangura.

Other three seafarers are currently nursing wounds on wheel chairs following an accident while working on board MV Star Zeta and MV Tasane, Singapore flagged ships during the same month.

He said it is unfortunate that MV Tasane sailed out to the sea without notifying the Kenya Maritime Authority neither offer medical assistance to the Kenyan worker who was injured while working on it.

This is contrary to section 421 of the merchant shipping Act of 2009 and called upon the KMA to take appropriate action against the rogue ships operating at the Mombasa port, according to Mwangura.

He said all accidents are the result of rogue ship contractors' working practices and the lack of training for their day-workers who are inexperienced and untrained.

"The value of life within the port area is considered to be very low, that is why you seldom hear about these cases," he said.

Mwangura said there is need of safety culture, equipment maintenance culture and good customer service within KPA.

Copyright © 2013 The Star. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.