Head of Maritime Safety and Security at Lake Victoria Basin Commission, Amos Ndoto, said during a previous interview at his office that East African countries sharing the Lake Victoria basin are addressing maritime safety issues in the wake of tragic accidents.
Through the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have raised $28 million towards a common policy on maritime safety.
The funds are meant to design, supply, and commission navigation equipment within Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, according to officials at the Commission.
Mr. Amos Ndoto, the Head of maritime safety and security at LVBC, said 86 aids to navigation equipment have already been installed in the three East African countries.
Aid to navigation equipment guide vessel operators on the direction they should take when in the lake to avoid collisions on land or with other vessels.
Such equipment includes lighthouses, buoys, fog signals, and day beacons. Mr. Ndoto said 18 aids to navigation equipment have been installed in Kenya at Kisumu, Homa Bay, Mbita Ferry Jet, and Luanda Kotieno in Siaya County.
In Uganda, 22 aids to navigation equipment were installed in Bukata, Luku, Port Bell, Entebee and Jinja jetties. Meanwhile, Tanzania has 46 navigation systems installed in Musoma, Mwanza South Port, Mwanza North Port, Mwanza Mwaloni Jetties, Nansio Port, Sentry Rock, Kigongoni Ferry Jetty, Kemondo Bay, and Bukoba Bay.
Besides setting up the equipment, which is a long-term solution for accidents, LVBC has come up with short term measures to minimise accidents in the lake.
It includes supporting boat users in acquiring life jackets so far, 600 lifejackets have been acquired to local passengers across Lake Victoria to enhance safety of passengers who use open canoes,” Mr. Ndoto said.
Agencies responsible for maritime safety have in the past raised concern about accidents in Lake Victoria where at least 200 people have died.
In order to avoid similar accidents, LVBC seeks to support vessel operators using modern machinery for navigation.
Mr. Ndoto said the installation of the new navigation equipment will help improve the safety of navigation for ships and boats across Lake Victoria.
“The main objective of the project is to promote increased transport and trade in Lake Victoria by improving maritime transport infrastructure including maritime communications, navigation safety aids, and emergency search services,” he said.
Other long-term solutions for maritime accidents include the construction of Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCCs) in Mwanza, Kisumu and Entebbe under the Multinational Lake Victoria Maritime Communications and Transport (MLVMCT) Project.