Kenya has revoked the licences of six Chinese vessels following reports that the operators were mistreating Kenyans.

Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) Head of Commercial Shipping John Omingo confirmed withdrawing the licences, noting that the majority of the Kenyan crew had lodged complaints of torture and mistreatment.

He added that KMA had notified the Chinese companies to cease operations along the Indian Ocean.


The Indian Ocean in Malindi, Kilifi CountyFILE

“KMA de-listed the Chinese fleet after multi-agency recommendations. They were found guilty of contravening Kenyan Maritime Labour Laws and International Labour Organization (ILO) laws on maritime operations.”

“We have already communicated to the owners of these vessels regarding withdrawal of their licences,” Omingo stated.

The vessels had been given authority to operate along the Indian Ocean from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2031.

The Kenyan crew complained over being forced to engage in illegal businesses at the Indian Ocean- failure to which they faced threats of being thrown into the sea.

Others complained of long working hours, poor diet as well as being forced to work after their contracts expired. 

The Chinese Nationals were also accused of failing to surrender 30 per cent of their catch to the locals as required by the law.

The Kenyan crew pointed out that they received such mistreatment despite being recruited by a reputable placement agent.

The plight reached the Senate Labour and Social Protection committee which sought to summon the Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI) George Kinoti in order to resolve the matter.