Kenya ratifies Cape Town Agreement
Kenya has agreed to begin requiring minimum safety requirements on its fishing vessels by ratifying the Cape Town Agreement (CTA) and the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F).
The two initiatives are driven by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to improve safety at sea and combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Kenya’s High Commissioner Manoah Esipisu, who is also a permanent representative of the country to the IMO, met with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim to deposit the instruments of ratification on 17 March, 2022.
Kenya’s entry into the CTA increases the contracting parties to 17, with approximately 2,000 fishing vessels qualifying under the agreement. Kenya’s ratification of the STCW-F has brought the number of contracting parties up to 34, IMO said.
Other global parties that have consented to the CTA include Belgium, Congo, Cook Islands, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Spain.
At least 22 states, with an aggregate of 3,600 fishing vessels that are at least 24 meters long and operating on the high seas, must express their consent to be bound by the CTA before it comes into force a year after the approval is achieved.
Once the CTA comes into force, all fishing vessels within the jurisdictions of contracting parties must comply with specific mandatory safety requirements. For the STCW-F, which is already in force, there are mandatory standards for fishing-vessel personnel, such as their training and certification.
The CTA includes standards for fishing vessels, targeting “stability and associated seaworthiness, machinery and electrical installations, life-saving appliances, communications equipment and fire protection, as well as fishing vessel construction.”
IMO, in partnership with NGOs, has in the recent past intensified campaigns to woo more countries into subscribing to the CTA as a way of combating IUU fishing. Current estimates are that IUU defrauds Africa an estimated 4.7 million metric tons of fish, estimated at approximately USD 10 billion (EUR 9 billion).
The Global Tuna Alliance (GTA) and Tuna Protection Alliance (TUPA) previously criticized 32 governments for their failure to ratify the CTA. At least 18 nations have yet to sign the agreement, and another 14 have signed but have yet to complete its ratification and implement standards mandated by the agreement, they said.
Photo courtesy of the International Maritime Organization