KPA monitors vessels from China over Coronavirus

Vessels calling at the Port of Mombasa put on notice as authorities move to secure Kenya from invasion of the deadly coronavirus.

Led by Kenya Ports Authority(KPA), the country is monitoring all vessels which have called at ports in China in the last two weeks.

China being a major import source for Kenya and it’s neighbouring countries, KPA has increased surveillance on vessels sailing to Kenya.

Monitoring covers crew and passengers who have recently traveled to mainland China.

Speaking on the monitoring exercise KPA GM of Operations and Harbour Master Capt. William Ruto said: “All vessels arriving from mainland China must fill the Maritime Declaration of Health form stating the health status of the crew.”

Other vessel documents include crew list, voyage memo and valid ship control or exemption certificate, all to be submitted to Port Health office at the Port of Mombasa.

Vessels are expected to send in advance or not less than 24 hours before arrival, the crew list and voyage memo for the purpose of getting details of the crew and movement of the vessel for the last 14 days respectively.

Kenya receives at least two to three ships every week which have either originated from China or called at Ports in China, enroute to Africa.

At least 32 vessels are expected to call at the Port of Mombasa in the next 14 days, KPA indicates, mainly container vessels, conventional vessels and oil tankers, with some having called at ports in China before heading to Kenya.

KPA now requires all masters of vessels to report any signs of the virus in advance, so as to make prior arrangement to board the vessel for screening at high seas before they are allowed entry into the port.

“Vessels from other areas and where the master has not reported any form of illness on board shall not be subjected to screening,” Capt. Ruto added.

Furthermore, the Shippers Council of East Africa (SCEA) noted that China being a key trading partner with Kenya, risks of the virus arriving in Kenya via the oceans remain high and that the Port Authority should remain vigilant.

The council represents shippers, transporters and logistics players in the East African region and has warned of a drop in trade with China amid rising costs of doing business.