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 Engine Maintenance to Support Maritime Operations in Kenya

Mombasa (Kenya) 4 – 14 September 2023 – The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Global Maritime Crime Programme (UNODC GMCP) has supported efforts to combat maritime crimes in Mombasa, Kenya. When countering maritime crime, effective law enforcement operations are paramount. To maximise effectiveness, several considerations and cooperation must be undertaken by officers on vessels. One such consideration is engine maintenance. The importance of engine maintenance is a serious safety requirement for operations at sea. Non-compliance with marine equipment maintenance regulations can jeopardise maritime crime interdiction missions, injure boarding crew members, and even lead to death. “ Last year, we had an incident where we lost some officers due to engine failures.” said Constable Thomas, a marine engineer with the Kenya Coast Guard Service. 

To reduce incidences of engine failure, UNODC GMCP delivered a training course on engine maintenance, covering vital aspects, such as scheduled inspections, lubrication systems, marine corrosion, prevention measures, maintenance planning, service intervals, and checklists. “The training course has significantly increased my understanding of ignition systems, checklists, and coding systems. Through this training, I have gained valuable knowledge and skills that have positively influenced my performance before, during, and after trips at sea. Additionally, the training has deepened my understanding of engine parts and coding systems, enabling me to troubleshoot and maintain engines effectively. As a result, I have  improved efficiency, reduced risks, and enhanced overall performance in my maritime endeavours” said Constable Thomas. 

Norman Kitonga, UNODC’s engine maintenance expert noted, “The students I had have a background in mechanical engineering and it helped with understanding the training. I found the students very motivated and eager to learn.”

Warrant officer Peter, another marine engineer, stated, “The key phrase is ‘routine without fail’. You must schedule your routine maintenance. If you don’t skip, you don’t fail. A valuable lesson I have taken from this course is that engine oil is like the blood in our veins, putting the wrong oil in an engine is equivalent to giving a person an incompatible blood type; it will shut down. Without functional engines, we cannot  enhance maritime safety and security ”. As a next step, these officers will advance to the regional Maritime Rule of Law Exercise (MROLEX) in Seychelles where they will be joined by other law enforcement officers from countries across the Indian Ocean West (IOW) region, share experiences and build networks. 

This activity was made possible thanks to funds from the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (US INL), which supports global efforts to combat maritime crimes and promote the rule of law. The funding has been instrumental to our work.                           

For more information, please contact:

Mr. David O’Connell (

Western Indian Ocean Programme Coordinator

Global Maritime Crime Programme 

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Click here to visit the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme website.