The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Defence Amb. Dr. Monicah Juma presided over the ceremony of handing over a Multi-function Drill Facility, constructed and donated jointly by the Danish Peace and Stabilization Fund (PSF) and British Peace Support Team (BPST) (Africa), to the Kenya Navy Training College (KNTC) at the KNTC grounds on 11 June 2021.
The handover ceremony was witnessed by the British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott and the Danish Ambassador to Kenya Mr Ole Thonke.
The facility will offer diverse training courses majorly on basic safety training for seafarers, elementary first aid, sea survival tactics, personal safety and social responsibility and proficiency security awareness. It will also offer fundamental training to the Kenya Navy Special Operations Squadron in conducting visit board, search and seizure as well as close quarter battle techniques.
In her speech, the CS commended the British and the Danish governments for supporting KNTC in its vision of becoming a regional Maritime Centre of Excellence which is a sign of strong bilateral partnership among the three countries.
She noted that the facility will not only boost the skills of the Kenya Navy sailors but also empower other maritime stake holders in the Coast region and in the country at large.
“Having a well-educated and trained manpower in maritime field, will not only secure our territorial domain but also support aspirations of exploiting marine resources in tandem with harnessing the Blue economy prosperity.” Said the CS.
The CS also noted that the primary function of the facility forms the fundamental pillar of offering safety to seafarers which a critical ingredient in any working environment. Further, she said that the zenith of mitigating the risks of fire onboard vessels and other establishments will only be achieved through refined high level of preparedness which the facility seeks to address.
The British high commissioner Jane Marriott articulated the gains made by the British and Kenya governments anchored on deep roots in a shared history and strong military partnership. She noted that UK is working to build Kenya military capacity operationally and institutionally.
“From land to sea, our UK and Kenyan forces are working shoulder to shoulder to bring security and stability to the region. Excellent training with high quality equipment, as we have seen today, are vital efforts of crucial importance of tackling shared threats”, said the UK high commissioner.
The Danish ambassador to Kenya Ole Thonke noted that the facility offers the possibility of freedom of navigation underpinned in maritime safety. He underscored the need to build capacity to police and protect territorial waters noting that Danish government has an excellent cooperation in maritime sector with the Kenya. “The ability to train the Kenya Navy soldiers and seamen in fighting fires and handling smoke filled rooms on board ships is of crucial importance and will save lives,” said the ambassador.
During the ceremony, the Commander Kenya Navy Base Mtongwe Brigadier Thomas Ng’ang’a welcomed the dignitaries to Kenya Navy on behalf of the Commander Kenya Navy. He appreciated the instrumental support offered by the Danish and British governments to Kenya Naval Training College in producing skillful and proficient sailors able to protect the nation against multi-dimensional maritime security threats.
Later on, the CS Defence toured the Full Mission Bridge Simulator at the KNTC. The simulator offers maritime courses for both Kenya Navy personnel and other maritime agencies. She finally visited the Kenya Shipyard Limited, Mombasa Yard, where she was taken through the progress of the shipyard construction at the site.
Among the dignitaries who attended the function include Principal Secretary State Department for Maritime and Shipping Affairs Nancy Karigithu, UK and Danish Defence attache´s Kenya Coast Guard representatives, senior military officers among other guests.