By Treezer Michelle Atieno
The government, through the state Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs, has announced an allocation of Ksh. 350 million for the construction of a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Kisumu during the 2023/2024 financial year.
Water-related deaths in Lake Victoria are currently at 13 every day. According to Principal Secretary Shadrack Mwadime, the centre will address safety and security issues for people accessing the lake.
Lake Victoria is known for its unpredictable weather patterns and strong currents, which can pose significant risks to those navigating its waters. An MRCC in Kisumu would bring numerous benefits to the area. It would play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of fishermen and other individuals involved in water-based activities.
With a dedicated rescue center, trained personnel would be readily available to respond to emergencies and provide timely assistance to those in distress. This would help reduce the number of accidents and fatalities that occur on the lake.
The center would also contribute to the overall economic development of the Nyanza region and the country. The fishing industry is a vital source of income for many communities in this area. By improving safety measures and providing prompt rescue services, fishermen would feel more secure while carrying out their activities.
This would not only boost their productivity but also attract more individuals to engage in fishing-related businesses. Additionally, the presence of a rescue center would enhance the region’s reputation as a safe and reliable destination for trade and tourism.
Furthermore, an MRCC would facilitate effective coordination between various stakeholders involved in maritime activities. This includes government agencies responsible for enforcing regulations, local communities, fishermen associations, and other relevant organizations.
The center could serve as a central hub for sharing information, conducting training programs, and coordinating joint operations. Such collaboration would lead to better enforcement of safety standards, improved communication networks, and enhanced overall efficiency in responding to emergencies.
Currently, Lake Victoria is facing numerous environmental challenges, including pollution and overfishing. The presence of an MRCC would enable authorities to monitor and enforce regulations related to sustainable fishing practices. This would help protect the lake’s ecosystem, preserve biodiversity, and ensure the long-term viability of the fishing industry.