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 an
Exclusive Economic Zone stretching 350 nautical miles and strategic inland water
bodies covering approximately 10,812 Km2.
The Kenyan coastline lies along major maritime trading and tanker routes between
Europe, 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 Northern
Transit Transport Corridor Agreement, in a region that hosts a combined population of
over three hundred (300) million people.
The current Permanent Representative to the IMO is H.E Lazarus O. Amayo who is also
the High Commissioner of Kenya to United Kingdom. Kenya is a current member of the IMO Council continously since 2001.
Kenya and the IMO
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 Regional
Presence Offices in Africa, in 1999, the delivery of technical support to Africa
6. 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.
More information can be obtained at : www.imo.org and www.kma.go.ke