Kenya inaugurates largest shipyard in sub-Saharan Africa
Kenya has inaugurated an ultra-modern shipyard at the Mtongwe Navy base in Mombasa, making it the first country in sub-Saharan Africa with such a facility.
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday formally opened the shipyard, a facility that has been built at the Kenya Navy's main base with the aim of enabling it to maintain its own ships.
Kenya Shipyards Ltd (KSL) has the capacity to handle vessels of more than 4,000 tons and 150 meters and will boost the East African country’s status as a maritime hub.
The new facility has the longest slipway, a platform on which ships are secured and winched out of water into a working area for construction, repair, refitting and maintenance.
The modern shipyard has two ship-building hangers, one 150 meters long and 30 meters high and a smaller one 120 meters long, 20 meters high and 13 meters wide.
In his speech during the televised ceremony held at Mtongwe Naval Base, south of Mombasa, Kenyatta thanked the Kenya Defense Force and its partner Damen for delivering the shipyard on budget and ahead of schedule.
He said the project was a major milestone not only for Kenya's navy and security organizations, but also for his ‘blue water economy' program to develop the country's maritime sector as it will also be able to build, refit, and repair civilian vessels.
The new shipyard is operated by Kenya Shipyards Ltd (KSL), which is owned by the Kenyan Ministry of Defense and has a second yard at Kisumu on Lake Victoria that was opened in May.
KSL will for the first time in Kenya’s history employ its own certified ship welders, which is part of the Kenyan government’s agenda to create over 10,000 jobs per year in the maritime sector, considering all ship welders in Kenya are foreign
This shipyard gives Kenya a competitive advantage in shipbuilding and maritime engineering in eastern and central Africa.