In a significant step towards bolstering maritime cooperation, Kenya and South Korea have solidified their partnership during a recent visit by a Kenyan delegation to South Korea.

Led by Geoffrey Kaituko, the Principal Secretary for Shipping and Maritime Affairs, the delegation engaged in high-level discussions with key stakeholders in the South Korean maritime industry.

Geoffrey Kaituko, Principal Secretary for Shipping and Maritime Affairs, remarked, “This visit marks a significant step towards enhancing collaboration between Kenya and South Korea in the maritime sector.” He continued, “The agreements and understandings reached during our discussions pave the way for increased cooperation between our nations.

“The primary focus of the visit was to explore opportunities for collaboration in training, mutual recognition of Certificates of Competency (COC), and employment of Kenyan seafarers on Korean vessels.

Kaituko emphasized the importance of these agreements, stating, “The impending signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on mutual recognition of COCs is anticipated to create employment opportunities for Kenyan seafarers on Korean ships, with projections indicating employment for up to 1000 ratings and officers annually.”

Kaituko also highlighted the interest shown by the Korea Ship Owners Association (KSA) in hiring Kenyan seafarers, stating, “KSA aims to tap into Kenya’s maritime talent pool to meet their growing workforce demands, recognizing the physical fitness, fluency in English, and discipline of Kenyan seafarers.”

The signing of an MOU between the Korea Institute of Maritime and Fisheries Technology and Kenya’s Bandari Maritime Academy was another significant outcome of the visit. Kaituko emphasized the importance of this agreement, stating, “This partnership underscores a commitment to collaboration in training standards, curriculum development, and faculty exchange, aiming to enhance the skill set of maritime professionals in both countries.”

In concluding his remarks, Kaituko urged the National Assembly to prioritize investment in maritime education and training centers, stating, “Increased financing for maritime education and training centers is essential for the sustainable growth of our maritime sector.”

He also encouraged the youth of Kenya to seize the opportunities presented by the maritime industry, highlighting its potential for growth and advancement.

The visit marks a significant milestone in Kenya’s efforts to position itself as a key player in the global maritime arena. With partnerships forged and agreements in motion, the stage is set for a new era of collaboration between Kenya and South Korea in the maritime sector.

As both nations look towards the future, the partnership forged during this visit holds immense promise for the advancement of their maritime industries and the mutual prosperity of their people.

By Fred Odanga