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Coast guard secures revamped Kisumu port ahead of launch

Friday July 5 2019

Workers at the Port of Kisumu

Construction workers at the Port of Kisumu. The Kenya Coast Guard Service has taken charge of security at the Kisumu dock ahead of its launch in August. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JUSTUS OCHIENG'
By JUSTUS OCHIENG'
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The Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS) has taken charge of security at the Kisumu dock ahead of its launch in August.

ODM leader Raila Odinga Thursday toured the dock in a discreet visit that also saw him inspect the Kisumu port, marine school and the stalled Kisumu Cotton Mills (Kicomi) factory which is slated for revival.

Even though Mr Odinga and officials who accompanied him did not brief journalists on the progress of the work, impeccable sources within the entourage said the KCGS had taken over security at the dock.

SECURITY

“From what you can see the Kenya Coast Guard Service is now in charge of security here and this shows the seriousness of the government in giving it a facelift in readiness for the official opening in August,” the source said.

The KCGS team told journalists they were under strict instructions not to allow any photos or videos to be taken at the site.

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Journalists were kicked out of the dock as Mr Odinga continued with his inspection.

It is not clear why the project works at the facility have been kept secret.

PERSONNEL

The Coast Guard Act 2018 established the KCGS, which is responsible for maritime security and safety, pollution control and sanitation measures as well as prosecuting offenders.

The service comprises personnel from the police, army and intelligence services and civilian professionals seconded from the Public Service Commission.

President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the service in Liwatoni, Mombasa County last year, noting that its goals are to enhance maritime security and protect Kenya's resources.

The president also commissioned MV Doria, the vessel that the service uses for surveillance.

BIG SHIPS

The special force is headquartered at the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex in Mombasa and has presence at the Mombasa, Lamu and Kisumu ports.

Contractors are working to beat strict deadlines as the President is set to commission the Kisumu harbour in August.

The government plans to restore the facility where big ships that plied Lake Victoria were manufactured.

They include SS Usoga, SS Nyanza, SS Ukerewe and MV Victoria.

The steel hull of the 1,000-tonne, 91-metre-long MV Uhuru cargo carrier is also expected to roar back to life as the dredging of the lake will make it possible for big ships to navigate through the waters.

Mr Odinga and President Kenyatta toured the port last month in another discreet visit after attending the burial of Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o’s mother Dorka Nyong’o.

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