MV Uhuru II, Kenya’s First Locally Assembled Ship, Launched.

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MV Uhuru II, Kenya’s first locally assembled ship was yesterday launched by Kenya President Ruto. The vessel was commissioned by former President Uhuru Kenyatta and was constructed at Kisumu Shipyard. The task was accomplished in 24 months by a partnership between Kenya Shipyards Limited and Dutch firm Damen Shipyards. Kenya Shipyards Limited is a state company under the Ministry of Defence. It was established to generate revenue for the government by tapping into the available local and regional market for construction, repair and maintenance of ships and provision of other maritime services. The success of the MV Uhuru II project has been hailed for transferring skills and knowledge in shipbuilding and contributing to the Blue Economy agenda by creating 4,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

MV Uhuru II was commissioned to complement MV Uhuru I which was refurbished in 2021 after stalling for almost 15 years. MV Uhuru I was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders, Scotland in 1965 and had been in service since 1966. MV Uhuru I and MV Umoja (of Tanzania), both over 300ft, were the longest vessels on any of the East African Lakes. They were owned and operated by the East Africa Railways and Harbours Corporation (EARH) until the East African Community fell in 1977 and each vessel was transferred to their mother countries. Like MV Uhuru I, MV Uhuru II will also transport cargo within Lake Victoria. Kenya Shipyards Limited says locally assembling the ship cost Ksh 2.4 Billion but would have cost Ksh 1.3 Billion more if constructed outside Kenya. The vessel has a capacity of 1,800 tonnes and can carry an estimated 2 Million litres of crude oil per trip.

From our interest in the Blue Economy space, we look forward to more developments in the local shipbuilding and maritime space.

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