Sea travelers in Lamu island were left stranded after boat operators put down their tools protesting against domineering authorities enforcing boat safety and travel regulations.
Kenya Maritime Authority(KMA) branch engineer Edward Mulongo launched a morning crackdown on all boats in Lamu to ensure their “seaworthiness” and confirm whether they had their competence certificates.
The boat operators did not take this kindly saying the operation was a knee jerk reaction by KMA to appear as if they are productive.
“Whenever we require KMA on the ground to assist in search and rescue efforts, they are never there, but they are very quick to demand fees from us yet they are largely ineffective in Lamu,” Boat operators Chairman, Awadh Babu said.
The travelers were stranded with their wares on Amu Island and Mokowe Jetty. Police did patrols on the Lamu waters to ensure the boat operators complied with the regulations.
The strike happened a day after Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) conducted a high level meeting with law enforcers on Lamu Island yesterday, seeking ways in which boat safety travel regulations would be implemented.
The boat operators also lamented that KMA and KPA were engaged in double taxation, with KMA collecting Sh15, 000 yearly while KPA were collecting Sh1, 500 per month in levies.