Kenya Navy rises from deep slumber

The Kenyan Navy has finally woken up from deep slumber after a hijacked Ukrainian vessel carrying weapons to Mombasa was freed by Somali pirates.

Kenya Navy boats on patrol around Mombasa.

Kenya Navy boats on patrol around Mombasa.

The Kenyan Navy is notorious for its absence since Somali pirates intensified attacks on shipping in the past two years. Kenya has never launched a single raid against the pirates, some of whom are hijacking ships only 300 kilometres from Mombasa.

A few dozen pirates currently in Kenyan courts were all arrested by foreign navies. Indeed, it is a shame that countries like China and Russia are sending their navies thousands of miles to do a job that the Kenyans have utterly failed to perform.

Kenya’s modest navy should be able to tackle Somali pirates, most of whom operate in small motorboats armed with machine guns. They would be no march for a naval vessel fitted with artillery, anti-aircraft weaponry and machine guns capable of firing hundreds of rounds a minute.

But alas, the failure of leadership at the national level has permeated the ranks of the disciplined forces, rendering them impotent in the face of real danger. Like cowards who have run away from the battle field, Kenya’s navy is taking out its frustration on innocent people on the pretext of providing security at port.

As the crippled MV Faina makes its way to Mombasa under US escort, Kenya Navy warships are lying in wait at Kilindini harbour. The navy has just dusted off the rust from warships that spend more time at the Mtongwe base than in doing meaningful work. Fishermen are said to have been told to keep off Mombasa waters, in a show of might meant to hoodwink taxpayers that their navy is, “alert.”

Observers are wondering what the Kenya Navy is doing in Mombasa, while Somali pirates are having a field day hundreds of miles away. In any case, there are no pirates in Mombasa, so why the big fuss over security?

Over the years, the Navy has failed Kenyan fishermen by not protecting the country’s territorial waters from illegal fishing. It is a well known fact that fishing vessels from as far away as China, Japan and Europe sail within view of the beach and engage in wanton looting of scarce fish. This has left the Arab and Mijikenda fishermen facing destitution, as their traditional boats cannot compete with the trawlers. Throughout the years, none of the foreign trawlers has been caught by the navy for violating Kenyan law.

It is also a fact that the Coast is a major conduit for drug trafficking. International gangs take advantage of unpatrolled seas to smuggle drugs from waiting ships, with no distraction from Kenyan authorities. The Kenyan Navy is yet to apprehend a single narcotics smuggler. Today, coastal societies are ravaged by drugs with youths turning to prostitution in order to afford the expensive habit.

Meanwhile, a ship ordered for the Navy is rotting away at a Spanish court after the Kenyan government and its contractor got into a payment dispute. The KNS Jasiri, which cost over 4.1 billion shillings (US $52 million ), is docked at the port of Ribadeo as the dispute drags. By the time the case is decided, the vessel may no longer be seaworthy.

Such is the sorry state of our maritime defences.

16 Responses

  1. for years the navy has been famous for their cheap beer pub

  2. to bankelele:
    Why “for years” – in this mounth!

  3. […] Kenya Navy rises from deep slumber. […]

  4. […] how bad is the situation? The Nairobi Chronicle explains: Over the years, the navy has failed Kenyan fishermen by not protecting the country’s territorial […]

  5. Amazing, that you have outfought yourself this time!! Your article beats your usual diatribe, and further hammers you into the gutter trenches. Well done!!

    How about doing some real journalistic research before you print out such gabbage, dear one?

  6. Dear Tom, isn’t it a fact that the Kenya Navy has been unable to capture a single pirate? I couldn’t believe it when I heard this week that the Seychelles Navy had captured a boatload of Somali pirates when the Kenyan Navy has captured nil. Yet, pirates are roaming freely just a few kilometres from Mombasa. Are we waiting for pirates to strike at Kilindini before our Navy can act?


  7. The lack of commitment comes from up,so I don’t know how much we can do to help ALL our disciplined forces.Its a fact that there is no comparison between our forces and foreign forces in terms of training,commitment,pride and weaponry.Hopefully this change is a sign of things to come.

    • Mr. Wa Mwangi, I tell you just thinking that I’ve spent my youth, bled my guts and sweated blood for years for guys like you, brother, drives me to wear camo paint for your liver! Tis guys like you that blame the devil for everything evil you do while the devil is asleep! I suggest you seat up and get some education from posts in this blog by variant men and women who have taken sacred oath to die for you!

      • Let’s face it though. If you had anything in you, you would be using tax-payers money wisely to take out these pirates, who simply drive buisness away from the ports, rather then sitting at home minding a port that has sufficent resources to look after the deterioating trade situation there. The longer the pirates are out there and the free’r they are then the higher the insurance and other things for ship owners who will just target their buisness elsewhere.

  8. Nairobi chronicle, one can’t expect the Kenya Navy to sail into Somali waters just to capture pirates so that we may be at par with Seychelles. Last time i checked this was not an international Pirate Hunting Competition, it was protection of our sea lanes. If we are so effective at doing it that pirates don’t cross into Kenyan waters then i say we leave the pirate hunting to less competent navies like Seychelles who’ve actually let them so close into their waters. People think that Mv Sirius Star was hijacked in Kenyan waters when it was actually 200NM(Nautical Miles) from the Kenyan territory, that’s 370km away from our boundary! Ha! and u say the Navy is sleeping. Major is right, this is just garbage.

    • Yes but ships have to go through those waters and they will simply head eastwards rather then south. Your right this isnt a competition but then if we dont react to this (when navies from hundreds of miles away do) then when will it? They send them out to do exercises with navies thoudands of NM’s away yet cant watch their trade in their neighbours back-garden.

  9. I think many people including the Nairobi Chronicle always imagine that piracy is taking place right at our coastline and under the nose of our navy officers.
    Do people understand that there is something called the international waters? I’ am forced to doubt.

  10. hi,really good jeans,do you know where i can find that.thanks,bill


  12. I hop our Kenyan naval forces are really waking up.In the next naval expenditure on arms,Kenya shud think of ordering warships with jet runways and also copter(Black Hawks) landing enhancements so that in the next 3 yrs,we can create our 1st Naval Air Base thus intensifying the training of the Kenyan Elite Special Forces Commandos, n finally forming the Kenya SEALs Commandos to cater for convectional n unconvectional warfare.

  13. umesema bro there no time for showmanship.

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