, ZANZIBAR, May 17 – A Joint Naval Patrol has been proposed for the Kenya-Tanzania Indian Ocean waters to tame the rising cases of piracy.
It was disclosed in a meeting between Kenya’s Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and the President of Zanzibar Dr Aveid Amani Karume on Saturday that commercial ships to the East African coast line have been forced to divert for more than 6,000 nautical miles to avoid being hijacked, causing up to two day delays in cargo delivery.
President Karume said at State House Zanzibar that as a result shipping companies have increased freight charges by more than $30 per 24-inch container.
“This problem of piracy is so serious and it is even now affecting the performance of our economy. We are requesting that Kenya and Tanzania participate in joint naval activities in the region,” said President Karume.
VP Musyoka also expressed Kenya’s concern with the disruption caused by piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Mr Musyoka said pirates were causing an upheaval in a very important shipping route, through which most of the imports and exports of the region pass.
“We are concerned as a country and every effort must be put in place to deal with piracy decisively,” said the VP.
He also briefed President Karume on a request to the International Maritime Authorities for Kenya to expand its waters beyond the current borders into international waters.
Later, the Vice President and his delegation were given a guided tour of the Zanzibar Government spice farms where he was shown how cinnamon, ginger, cloves and other spices for which the Island is famous for are grown.
Mr Musyoka also held a meeting with his Tanzanian counterpart Dr Ali Shein in Dar-es-Salaam where they agreed that Kenya and Tanzania will revive an agreement for a Joint Commission for Cooperation that was signed 21 years ago.
The Joint Commission for Cooperation that was signed between President Moi and former Tanzanian President Ali Hassan Mwinyi in 1988 seeks to strengthen economic and bilateral relations between the two countries.
The two Vice Presidents reached an agreement to fast track its implementation so that the two countries can move their economic operation a notch higher.
Mr Musyoka is on a three day official visit to Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar, which he will conclude on Monday.
He is accompanied by MPs David Ngugi, Kambi Kazungu, Johnstone Muthama and Prof. Phillip Kaloki.