Kenya Unveils First Locally Made Ship in Mombasa

Kenya has unveiled the first ship built entirely in the country as part of attempts to reestablish maritime trade and develop blue economy activities in Lake Victoria.

President William Ruto commissioned the MV Uhuru II, a Sh2.4 billion ($16 million) cargo ship built and completed in Kenya Shipyards in Kisumu.

“I hereby place MV Uhuru II into commission. May her engines roar and bring her to life. May the glide of her sail be smooth. May good tidings be with her and her crew. May the almighty God bless her voyages,” the president said, according to

The ship, which has a capacity of 1,800 tons, will improve trade and transportation in the region by ferrying cargo and oil across Lake Victoria. The 100-meter yacht, which can carry 22 wagons across the lake and has a capacity of two million liters of crude oil per voyage, can also sail to neighboring Uganda and Tanzania in 10 hours, according to authorities. Kenyan agencies, notably the Kenya Defense Forces, collaborated with a Dutch contractor, Damen Shipyards, to build the ship at the Kenya Ship Yard.

The ship was expressly developed to meet the demands of commercial shipping and is outfitted with innovative systems such as its hull structure and pipe systems, as well as its firefighting system and electrical equipment. According to Standard Media, the MV Uhuru II is currently here to supplement the MV Uhuru I, which was built in 1966 and mostly transports petroleum products to Uganda.

With Kenya becoming the pioneer of shipbuilding in East and Central Africa, the ship will not only cater to regional countries’ transportation of products around the lake, but will also generate job opportunities for residents.

According to a report on Kenya’s transportation sector, the country moves goods and people to support economic activity using road, river, air, or rail. Kenya recently completed a standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Naivasha (592 km total), which would shift at least 40% of freight from road to rail.

In effect, Kenya’s transport sector contributes for 8.3% of total GDP, with the maritime sector serving as a vital economic pillar.

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