A new firefighting facility worth Sh41 million has been launched at the Kenya Navy Training College (KNTC), at the Mtongwe naval base in Mombasa.
The facility was launched by the British High Commissioner Jane Marriott, and Danish Ambassador Ole Thonke, joined by Defence CS Monica Juma.
The investment will help KNTC’s status as a centre for maritime excellence in East Africa.
The handover culminates after months of developing the firefighting Unit and providing technical expertise by the British Peace Support Team and the Danish Peace and Stabilisation program.
Marriott said that the multipurpose training facility will further strengthen UK’s defence relationship with Kenya.
“It is my pleasure to be here alongside CS Monica Juma, and our Danish friends, with Ambassador Thonke. From land to sea, our UK and Kenyan forces are working shoulder to shoulder to bring security and stability to the region. Excellent training standards with high-quality equipment as we have seen today are vital in our efforts of tackling shared threats,” Marriott said.
Thonke said that the ability to train navy soldiers and seamen in fighting fires and handling situations in smoke-filled rooms on ships is of crucial importance, and will save lives.
“Denmark is proud to have accomplished this facility together with our close allies and friends from the UK and the Republic of Kenya. It is our mutual ambition that the Fire Fighting Unit will contribute to the integration of the “Blue Kenya” promoting cooperation among maritime agencies such as Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), the Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS), and the like. We look forward to seeing this facility being utilised to its full capacity,” Thonke said.
The Defence CS said during the launch that the UK’s British Peace Support Team, headquartered in Karen, Nairobi, has monitored the specification and the build of the Unit to ensure that it meets international standards.
She added that the UK’s South Shields Marine School has also provided technical support, curriculum design, and the provision of specialist training equipment.
“The new training unit meets the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers. To be certified under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards, the Kenya Navy,” Monica said.
She added, “In addition to firefighting, the multi-purpose unit will also be utilised to train sailors in the theoretical elements of vessel board search and seizure, which will enhance capability in maritime security. The facility will be available to other maritime agencies to conduct their firefighting and sea survival training, which is essential for deployment at sea.”
The visit also underscores the key elements of broader cooperation between Kenya and the UK on defence, enabled by the Defence Cooperation Agreement.
The UK and Kenya have a strong Defence Partnership, built over many years of joint training, shared history, and mutual objectives.
The partnership is underpinned through the 2016 UK/Kenya Defence Co-operation Agreement.