Kenya: Lamu Ocean users want search and rescue station established

Lamu leaders and residents want the national government to establish a maritime search and rescue station in the county.

This follows an increase in accidents in the Indian Ocean resulting in injuries, deaths and loss of property.

Lamu Deputy Governor Abdulhakim Aboud, who is also the county executive for fisheries and agriculture, noted that there had been delays in search and rescue missions when accidents occurred .

Between 12 and 15 people die each year in maritime accidents in Lamu, according to the county’s fisheries and shipping department.

Last August, seven fishermen died in an accident at sea while 12 boats capsized in Lamu.

“We need a fully equipped maritime search and rescue substation to be established in Mtangawanda or in the Lamu port area of ​​Kililana,” Aboud said.

“I believe that with such a facility in place, it will help improve our water transportation infrastructure, including marine communications, aids to navigation and inland waterways.”

He spoke at an event to issue certificates to boat operators in the county.

Mohamed Somo, head of the Lamu County Beach Management Unit Network, Mohamed Somo, said fishermen and other sea users, including travelers and traders, could not get assistance in the event of a disaster. accident in the ocean.

Mr Somo said lifeboats could take up to 12 hours to arrive at the scene of the crash.

This often happens when lives are already lost.

He called for the establishment of an emergency search and rescue station in Lamu that will directly help deal with threats in the ocean.

“The government must put in place effective measures and practical guidelines to help save lives in marine accidents in our waters. emergency in the Indian Ocean, ”he said.

Mr. Ali Jamal, a long-distance freight forwarder in the Lamu Archipelago, said sailors, fishermen and travelers often have to struggle on their own in the event of an unfortunate accident.

He cited the August 2017 accident where Lamu ODM politician Shekuwe Kahale lost his family when a boat capsized in the Manda Bruno Canal.

“People told of how they swam for hours without any help. Others gave up and died, while a few survived,” Jamal said.

“Kahale made every effort including holding her six children for a whole eight hours until they began to slip away from him as they were exhausted and that’s how they died. Imagine if the rescuers had been there by then they would be alive. “

Mr. Ahmed Bakari, from Kiunga, said that once established, the station will reduce pressure on fishermen who often rush to rescue their colleagues when accidents occur in the ocean.

“We will appreciate if the top priority of the state is to minimize the number of deaths in the Indian Ocean due to boating accidents,” said Bakari.

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