H.E Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces has today launched the Kenya Shipyard Limited (KSL), a state corporation under the Ministry of Defence.
During the event President Uhuru was with his counterpart, Major General Evariste Ndayishimiye President of the Republic of Burundi.
The President, handed Brigadier Paul Otieno the Managing Director, Kenya Shipyards Limited operalisation instruments namely; the seal, the certificate of incorporation and KSL Flag.
Both Heads of State took part in the keel laying of MV Uhuru II.
Keel laying of a ship is one of the most significant dates in the life of a ship as it marks the formal recognition of the start of the ship’s construction.
Construction of MV Uhuru II will run concurrently with phase two construction of the dry dock and slipway at the Kisumu shipyard.
President Uhuru noted the importance of constructing MV Uhuru II, “Today, with my brother the President of Burundi, we have laid the keel of the marine vessel MV Uhuru (II) which shall be the first ship to be built at the Kisumu Port for the last 70 years. This vessel shall support our sister ship which had been dilapidated but has been rehabilitated and has been able to transport over 50 million litres of fuel from Kisumu to Uganda thereby reducing the cost of the price in Uganda due to reduced transportation cost,” said the President.
“In pursuant to our development agenda it is clear that the exploitation of home waters is key in facilitating trade, industry and the defence of the country. This is the reason we formed a plan to revamp this once vibrant East African commercial port and also the vessel we were able to revive,” the President added.
“The construction of MV Uhuru II will demonstrate our commitment to identify, harness and grow the skills needed to build our economy. In support of the Big Four Agenda, the KSL shall catalyze ship building and technology transfer and we shall provide opportunity for the improvement our operations,” said the Head of State.
The President further advised farmers in the neighbouring counties to take advantage of the revival of the marine operations and the yet to be launched Kisumu-Nakuru rail line to transport their agricultural produce to enhance their livelihood.
The Head of State lauded the revival of MV Uhuru which had been grounded for 13 year but later rehabilitated by the Kenya Defence Forces, Kenya Railways and National Youth Service saying it shall stimulate economic growth in the lake region and promote job creation for the youth.
The two heads of states further flagged off MV Uhuru for it 51st trip since refitting to transport crude oil to Uganda.
KSL is a Kenya Government nascent ship building and repair facility. It was borne out of the need for a maritime facility that can be able to repair, maintain, refit, construct ship and provide other maritime services.
KSL is expected to be the main hub for ship construction for not only the Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies but also for the entire East African region.
The two heads of state also witnessed the ongoing dredging at the Kisumu Port meant to enhance the depth of the lake for better anchorage and navigation of bigger maritime vessels.
In attendance were Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Defence Amb Dr Monica Juma, CS Interior, CS Treasury, CS Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CS Transport, Chief of the Defence Forces, Principal Secretaries, Service Commanders and other senior government officials.