August 7, 2022

Kenya’s maritime students lack 12 months’ sea-time to complete studies

Some of the first batch of thirteen Kenyan cadet officers set to undergo sea time training aboard merchant ships owned and operated by the Saudi Arabian Bahri Shipping Company Image: Coutesy (2020)


Seagoing service of 12 months is a mandatory requirement for marine engineering and nautical science cadets who want to qualify as marine engineering officers or navigating officers.

Currently, the institutions offering relevant training for marine deck officers and engine room officers include Bandari Maritime Academy, Technical University of Mombasa and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology.

The three institutions have currently enrolled students who are undertaking maritime related courses but nobody knows their fate on sea-time training.

Some of the 13 cadets benefiting for the training deal between Kenya and Saudi Arabia’s Bahri Shipping Company include Kenya Ports Authority cadet marine pilots unable to secure such training experience.


However, it is feared that the 13 cadets will not make it to Master Mariners or Chief Engineers that takes six to seven years to attain through sea-time experience only made possible when a country has its own national merchant vessel fleets. Kenya lacks such.

For them to be recognised and trusted by foreigner ship owners, they will be forced serve as masters or chief engineers for so many years onboard ships from well-known shipping lines.

The only way forward is for Kenya National Shipping Line to own and operate its own fleet of merchant ships that will give its trainees of different maritime courses opportunities to gain sea-time training.


Deck Cadet is an apprentice who has to learn the basic duties of a deck officer onboard a ship.

S/he has to complete the prescribed sea-time in order to take the exams of 2nd mate.

Even though the cadet is onboard they still have to complete their studies.

They have to undergo various forms of training, watch-keeping with chief officer, at port with second mate and do normal deck jobs with the Bossun.

In the UK it is possible to train as a Deck Cadet after a Foundation Degree program or High Nautical Diploma.
Engine Cadet is placed onboard for the purpose of training to become an Engineer Officer, learning the rudiments of his shipboard functions through an on-the-job training scheme and by collective support of his shipmates, superiors, particularly the Senior Engineer Officers.

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