By Jared Oundo,
Security and overfishing in Lake Victoria among other water bodies in East Africa has been a main challenge. To curb this, governments in the region have opted to lease patrol boats to boost water and boarder security. They will be joining other countries such as Nigeria and the US that have leased patrol boats to boost security in their waters. The US Navy recently leased patrol vessels at $ 3 million to secure its boarders.
“Governments and private companies in the region have approached us seeking to lease patrol boats to provide security and escort services,” said Anna Asio of Vehicle and Equipment Leasing Limited (VAELL) Uganda.
“Our value added services such as training operators on how to use machinery for safety reasons and maintenance has over the years attracted corporates and governments to lease with us,” reveals the Leasing Manager VAELL, the leasing ginat that acquired Club 101 company status in 2015 after winning the best in Transport award in the Top 100 KPMG/Business Daily Survey in 2014.
“The security fleet has been under extreme pressure since several of the vessels have been laid up due to structural, corrosion and mechanical problems. The vessels we have are not enough to enable us provide necessary security in the lake. Leasing the patrol boats will be an idea whose time has come,” one of the security officers manning Migingo Island who didn’t want to be quoted told Aqua Africa.
The boats that are currently used by both the security and fishermen in the lake are old with various challenges. A problem that will be overcame through leasing.
With leasing there is no need to worry about lifespan and obsolescence.
Through leasing contractors have the ability to use current technology since technology keeps upgrading. The tenant has the option of returning old machinery and obtaining a better version of the same equipment. With this, the tenant will remain competitive and production for always employing latest technology.
It is worth noting that leasing is not buying. Leasing allows a client to use equipment for a specified period of time while paying a fixed reasonable monthly fee. This helps the client to avoid huge capital initial expenditure and the money saved can be used to finance other expenditure.
Leasing allows institutions to use equipment for a specified period of time while making monthly or quarterly payments as the lessor takes care of maintenance, insurance and tracking. This helps them evade the unnecessary vast capital expenditure in buying the vehicles.
“Leasing the patrol vessels will ensure that our waters are secure. It will help us abate illegal fishing and boost blue economy,” said the officer.
Fish catches on the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria has declined considerably since 2002 due to the utilization of illegal fishing gear, says a report issued by the fisheries department.
According to Erick Okoth, fisheries officer, new strategies have to be formulated to reduce the number of fishermen operating in the lake. However, fishermen and opinion leaders interviewed by Aqua Africa attributed the low catches to the natural depletion of stock and lack of larger fishing vessels to enable fishermen venture deeper into the lake where bigger species are usually found.
“Fishing is the major economic lifeline of the people in the Lake Victoria basin and the government should intensify security patrols in the lake to save the industry from collapsing,” the officer said.
He added that the local authorities in the lake districts of Tanzania and Uganda, who also depended on the revenue collected from fishermen need to formulate strict measures to reprimand those who wreaked havoc on candid fishermen.
“A criminal should be treated as such, regardless of his nationality,” said the officer, who urged the three East African countries to hold consultations on ways to eradicate pirates from the common lake.
Patrol boats have unique features that differentiate them from the normal boats used by fishermen. They have aluminum hulls and GRP composite superstructures. The accommodation area has been additionally clad with bullet-proof materials to protect the personnel inside.
All patrol vessels feature upgraded water jets and engines for maximum performance.
“We strongly believe that our partnership with various institutions and governments will continually place us in a position to play a key role in the regions Blue Economy and Aqua culture development,” VAELL’s Leasing Manager.
“We will offer after sales support, provide on-site training, clear and deliver spare parts for the vessels. We are considering opening a service hub on the shores of Lake Victoria to ensure quick response just in case the vessels need repair,” Anna Asio, told Aqua Africa.
The writer, Jared Oundo, is the Editor-In-Chief of Aqua Africa Magazine.