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Kenya hails Chinese help in rescuing its fishermen

Humanitarian effort saved three lives, says Coast Guard in letter

By WANG XIAODONG in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-02-07 09:41

The Kenya Coast Guard Service, the country's maritime law enforcement agency, has expressed appreciation for Chinese assistance in rescuing three Kenyan fishermen in the high seas.

In a letter addressed to the China Overseas Fisheries Association in Beijing through the Chinese embassy in Nairobi, which was released on Monday, the coast guard said it received information on Nov 30 that four Kenyan fishermen had gone missing during a deep-sea fishing trip.

The Coast Guard immediately launched a search and rescue operation for the fishermen. The operation lasted for seven days, but ended without success, said the letter dated Jan 19.

On Dec 25, the Coast Guard received a report saying that a Chinese fishing vessel, Luqingyuanyu 108, licensed by the fisheries authority of neighboring Tanzania, had rescued three Kenyan fishermen in a small capsized boat at sea.

The Chinese captain, in a humanitarian gesture, coordinated the rescue and provided food, water and accommodation to the three. He immediately contacted the China Overseas Fisheries Association, which got in touch with its local partner in Kenya, Sam Maina.

'Good gesture'

The local partner, in turn, coordinated efforts with the Coast Guard and the captain to reunite the rescued fishermen with their families on Dec 27, the letter said.

"I, therefore, take this opportunity on behalf of the Kenya Coast Guard Service to appreciate the good gesture of the captain and the China Overseas Fisheries Association ... which led to the rescue of Kenyan fishermen, hence saving their lives," Bruno Shioso, director-general of the Coast Guard, said in the letter.

According to an earlier report by Kenya News Agency, the four fishermen set off on a fishing trip from the coastal town of Malindi in November, but went missing after their boat malfunctioned and was hit by a rogue wave.

The three who were rescued — Hans Barak Killieney, Fahad Ali Mohammed and Akida Idd Mohammed — were stranded at sea for 22 days, while the fourth, Ibrahim, is believed to have drowned, the report said.

Following the successful rescue, Shioso said the Coast Guard will intensify its efforts to ensure it operates a more modern force and has enhanced capabilities for search and rescue operations.

The Coast Guard handles about 900 similar cases annually, with 62 percent involving small fishing vessels, Kenya News Agency said.

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