Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
Written By:Pauline Masese
April 15, 2009

Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta and US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger Wednesday signed a Megaports initiative to install radiation detection equipment at the port of Mombasa to scan containerized cargo for nuclear and other radio active materials.

The move is intended to strengthen international shipping and Trade.

Speaking at a press briefing in his office, Uhuru said the project was significant because Kenya has been a victim of terrorism in the past and could suffer the same fate in future if action is not taken.

He noted the initiative was another indication of the strong partnership that Kenya had built with the US not only in the fight against global terrorism, but also in other areas of development like agriculture, health particularly HIV/AIDS, environment and natural resources, and governance.

"We are pleased that the US government has stepped in to assist Kenya in this regard and I take this opportunity to thank the US government for their support." he added

The past week has been dramatic, following the seizure of a US cargo ship in which the captain was taken captive and later rescued by the US marines.

US ambassador Michael Ranneberger said the effectiveness of the program is dependent on the co-operation with multiple ministries including the Kenya Revenue Authority, Customs Service Department under the ministry of finance, Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Maritime Authority under ministry of transport.

He said they chose Kenya because of its geographical location since it is next to Somalia a global trade route that is vulnerable to terrorist exploitation adding that Mombasa is also a vital port in East Africa with more than 90 percent of international transit goods passing through it.

"Experts who will work closely with representatives from the government and industry are scheduled to visit Kenya April 20 to 25 to conduct a detailed sight survey of the port Ranneberger said.

The megaports initiative was established in 2003 and is now operational in 21 ports worldwide and work is underway to establish over 20 additional ports in Americas Asia and Caribbean

More than 90% of international trade goods are transported by sea aboard container ships making the Global Marinetime System vulnerable to terrorist exploitation and could severely damage the global economy.