Kenya Ports acquires salvage boats

Sunday January 16 2022
Kenya Ports Authority

Kenya Ports Authority receives gantry cranes for the second container terminal in Mombasa on January 11. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT


Kenya becomes the second African country, after South Africa, to own salvage boats after the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) acquired a $16.65 million multipurpose salvage tugboat and three ship-to-shore gantry cranes at $28.9 million.

The salvage tugboat bought from Turkey and three ship-to-shore gantry cranes from Japan will boost efficiency and bulk handling activities at the second container terminal. This follows Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order to boost businesses in East Africa.

Last week, when he visited the Kipevu Oil Terminal, the president urged port officials to boost efficiency and deal with challenges including congestion.

The multi-purpose tugboat boat will provide rescue services, marine salvage, fire suppression at sea and control maritime pollution.

KPA general manager for operations and harbour Sudi Mwasingo said the newly-acquired salvage tugboat will open new business for the port.

KPA has already received requests for the use of the tugboat for rescue marine operations during emergencies.


"The authority can recover the sum spent to acquire the tugboat during its operations. It will not only assist in salvage operations at sea but open a new market," he said at the new dockyard tug jetty at the port of Mombasa.

Mwasingo said the cranes will assist the port in increased berth throughput, faster ship turnaround and reduced waiting time.

“The decision to acquire the salvage boat was reached after we established that KPA was incurring a lot of expenses in hiring salvage services. Last year MV Theresa Arctic ran aground near the entrance to the Kilifi Creek while sailing to the port of Mombasa. KPA was forced to take services of an international firm to salvage the vessel,” he said.

The boat will boost KPA’s revenue streams,” he added.

Acting general manager KPA engineering services, Javan Wanga said offloading and commissioning of the gantry cranes to make them ready for use will take two months.

He said the equipment will position the port for Mombasa to be a hub port within the region. The facility can do more than 550,000 TEUs annually. Currently, the port is doing 1.2 million.

“The crane has a capacity of moving to and fro the ship containers 40 moves per hour with a hoisting speed of the load a maximum of 80 metres per minute traveling along the rails above 45 metres per minute. It’s modern equipment. This will improve the productivity of the port and deal with congestion issues,” said Mr Wanga.