Weatherman warns Lamu fishermen against using unsafe channels

The ill-fated boat that caused the death of one person in Lamu (parked upside down). Two other occupants were rescued. The boat was carrying more than 60 bags of potatoes.

Photo credit: FILE I Nation Media Group

Fishermen, sailors and other sea travellers have been warned against plying dangerous channels in the Indian Ocean in Lamu during this period when the region has been witnessing heavy rainfall.

Lamu County Director of Meteorological Services Edward Ngure noted that heavy rains accompanied by strong winds are possible, particularly in the open seas, a situation that poses a grave danger during navigation.

Speaking to nation.africa on Wednesday, Mr Ngure also advised the sea users to strictly adhere to various weather updates from the meteorological department so as to know if it is safe for them to ply the Indian Ocean.

Mr Ngure advised the sea users to avoid the dangerous channels every time there is rain.

Among the renowned dangerous and killer channels in the Lamu Indian Ocean include Mlango wa Tanu in Mkokoni, Mlango wa Ali in Kiwayu and Mlango wa Bomani in Kiunga, all in Lamu East Sub- County.

Other channels include the Manda Bruno, the Mkanda and Shella channels and Mlango wa Kipungani in Lamu West.

These channels are found in areas considered deepest in the Indian Ocean in the region.

They are always characterised by rough currents accompanied by strong waves.

Many people have died and property of unknown value destroyed at those channels in the Lamu waters.

“We have been witnessing heavy rains in Lamu since the week began. My advice to the fishermen, sailors and other sea users is that they should be cautious as they ply the Indian Ocean. We have channels with rough waves, strong winds and tides. Things always get worse in those channels during heavy rains. We need to desist from such channels to avoid boat accidents and loss of lives and property,” said Mr Ngure.

Lamu County Disaster Management and Rescue Team leader Luqman Abdulaziz said the region has recorded fewer cases of marine accidents in recent times.

Mr Abduklaziz praised the boat operators across Lamu for adhering to basic safety marine rules and regulations.

He noted that during this rainy season, visibility at sea is impaired.

The official advised boat operators to ensure that their vessels are fitted with navigation lights to avoid bumping into one another as they travel during early mornings, late in the evening and at night.

“This is a time that boat operators should have their vessels fitted with navigation lights since visibility at sea is always affected during rainy seasons. Passengers should also wear life jackets as they travel,” said Mr Abdulaziz.

Much of Lamu’s transport is by water with the region boasting of a boat population of over 5,000.

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