The Kenya Port Authority (KPA) is the state corporation with the responsibility to maintain, operate, improve and regulate all scheduled seaports in Kenya. The largest port in East Africa is the Port of Mombasa, and it is managed by the KPA.
The Port of Mombasa is the main gateway for the import and export of goods for Kenya. It facilitates freight for all the landlocked countries situated in East and Central Africa. The port is critical and connects the region to over 80 ports worldwide.
In recent times there has been heavy investment by KPA in upgrading maritime infrastructure. These initiatives include the expansion of the Port of Mombasa and construction of a second commercial port, the Port of Lamu.
The upgrades to these ports will increase handling capacity from 30.92 million tonnes in 2018 to an estimated 61.4 million tonnes by 2027.
There is a focus from government to boost maritime infrastructure and their plans are outlined in the Economic Blueprint – Kenya Vision 2030.
KPA was allocated funding to commission the new port projects at the Port of Mombasa and Port of Lamu.
The KPA was faced with an increasing challenge to manage and ensure the safety of vessels entering their ports. The region has many abandoned vessels and an abundance of low-lying coral reefs. The protected Mombasa Marine Park is located at the entry to the Port of Mombasa.
Without adequate marking there was a substantial risk for an incident or collision to occur. A decision was made to mark these port entries with leading lights for the safety of mariners, vessels, important cargo and to protect the marine habitat.
The KPA needed a solution that would have low operating and maintenance costs. Funding for the initial project investment was granted, however ongoing budget to power and maintain the assets long term was limited.
Sealite’s SL-300 long-range solar marine lanterns in a single tier configuration were chosen. The first lantern replaced the rear leading light at Ras Serani, and in combination with the front leading light, it creates an accurate bearing to direct vessels into the extremely busy Port of Mombasa.
In addition, the port is supported by a SL-155 mid-range marine lantern. This asset is located on the headland of Chale Island, located at the Northern end of Msambweni Bay in Kwale County, Southeastern Kenya. It highlights the entry way to Mombasa Port from the south and Shimoni Port located on the South Coast. The SL-155 is single tier and has a range of 6-13NM.
The second SL-300 marine lantern was installed at Shela Island in a similar configuration as the asset mentioned above. The asset assists with creating bearing lines, for marine traffic entering the Port of Lamu. This port is currently under construction and completion was expected by the end of 2020.
The SL-300 in white as a single tier configuration has a range of 13-19NM. The units in Kenya were supplied complete with AIS and solar panels, allowing them to be remotely monitored on the international VHF channel.
They were installed by Sealite’s authorised distributor Industri-Tech under the guidance of Sealite’s technical team based in Australia.
The SL-300 was chosen because of its small form factor design and ease of installation. The lantern design incorporates a heat sink to protect the unit from overheating.
The system included a 280-watt power supply for the lantern; 2 x 140-watt solar panels; 3 x 110Ah batteries (complete with weatherproof housing and a lockable battery cage). The batteries provide power for the high intensity lantern and the housing and battery cage protect against theft or vandalism.
The lanterns are non-intrusive and were installed without impacting the current lighthouse building and beacon infrastructure.
The Advanced PC tool was used on site to configure the lanterns, their flash character, intensity settings and alarm conditions. It was also supplied with an IR programming tool that will allow maintenance staff that visit the sites to make any adjustments if required.
IALA has a keen strategic focus in raising awareness and helping maritime authorities improve safety in the African region. Sealite as an Industrial Member of IALA has supported and provided solutions for our customers in Africa for over thirty years.
Sealite’s expertise lies not only in providing guidance and advice, but also supporting and building longstanding relationships with our partners and their customers. This includes the development of training programs to share knowledge and promote a best practice approach.
The KPA turned to Sealite and our authorised distributor Industri-Tech, to provide a workable solution. Together the projects were designed, specified and installed and continue to mark the critical sites cost effectively and without compromising on safety.
“I am very happy with the new SL-300 lantern and its advanced programming features, especially the IR-Remote Control… now everything is digital.”
Masai R. John – Marine Light Shop Superintendent, Kenya Port Authority