Kenya ratifies fishing vessel safety treaties Cape Town Agreement, STCW-F

KENYA – Kenya has shown its support for the safety of fishing vessels and their crews by depositing its instrument of ratification to the 2012 Cape Town Agreement and the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F).

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement (CTA) will bring in mandatory safety requirements for fishing vessels when it enters into force.

It outlines design, construction, and equipment standards for fishing vessels 24 meters or longer and details regulations that countries that are party to the agreement must adopt to protect fishing crews and observers.

It includes provisions addressing stability and associated seaworthiness, machinery and electrical installations, life-saving appliances, communications equipment and fire protection, as well as fishing vessel construction. 

Kenya is the 17th country to become a contracting state to the CTA, which will enter into force 12 months after at least 22 States, with an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels meeting the length requirements operating on the high seas, must express their consent to be bound by it.

Other contracting states to the CTA include Belgium, Congo, Cook Islands, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Kenya, The Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa and Spain.

It is important to note that CTA is a predecessor to two previous failed treaties; the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, and the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol.

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However, it is one of the four instruments intended to develop, entrench and enhance fishermen working conditions for safety globally in a standardised and harmonious way.

Three of these have since been ratified for global application, supported and driven by the IMO and other organisations including the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

They include the IMO’s International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F), 1995 – in force since 2012 and currently being revised to align its standards with the current state of the fishing industry.

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It sets out mandatory standards relating to training, certification and watchkeeping of Fishing Vessel Personnel.

With the latest ratification, the STCW-F now has 34 contracting parties.

Second is the ILO’s Work in Fishing Convention 2007 (Convention No. 188) in force since 16 November 2017 and implemented first by South Africa in December 2017.

It sets minimum requirements for work on board including hours of rest, food, minimum age and repatriation.

Third is the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)’s Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA), 2009, which entered into force in 2016.

It is aimed at preventing, deterring and eliminating IUU fishing through the adoption and implementation of effective port State measures.

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