Kenya shipyards Limited is mainly designed for ship building, however, its roles in support of industry and developmental engineering is prominent. It has a record of service to rail industry and general engineering and has promoted further diversifications of its general engineering activities


Kenya Shipyards Limited was established by the Kenyan Government and the National Treasury has 100% shareholding. It was formed to address operational requirements of the Kenya Navy and MDAs and utilize the excess capacity to generate revenue for the Government by tapping into the available local and regional market for construction, refit, repair, maintenance and overhaul of ships and provision of other maritime services.

Shipbuilding uses a considerable amount of marine grade steel. The variety of manufactured products which go to make up a fitted-out vessel is enormous and entails a wide range of different materials. The hull for example, can be constructed with materials like iron, steel, rubber, wood, polyester and many others, small craft can be made of aluminum or fiberglass and a few boats and barges have been made of steel-reinforced cement. The choice of material will depend on the specific requirements of the vessel and the intended use of the boat or ship.  Shipbuilding is an assembly industry. It involves assembly of various pre-fabricated structural components along with installation of various machineries and fitting out items. Ships are built to specification and assembled in a slipway or drydock in a system-by-system fashion. Sheet metal and other bulky goods are moved using: Gantry cranes on rails, Cranes on wheels, Fork lift trucks, and Wheeled trucks. 

In ship construction, the design is based on the functionality of the vessel and it influences the materials used to construct a vessel. The appropriate choice of structural steel must also satisfy the requirements of international classification societies.


After 15 months of dedicated work including working in shifts, KSL has built a 100 metre Wagon Ferry which was floated on 02 August 2022 at Kisumu Shipyard.


KSL acquired MV Pate for Kenya Ports Authority in 2022. KSL is also undertaking mid-life refit of KNS Shupavu for the Kenya Navy.

KSL has also performed repairs and maintenance on vessel Sea Spirit 30 for KCGS, Tug Imara for Kenya Navy, vessel KMA3 for Kenya Maritime Authority, MV Kiboko patrol boats for Kenya Wildlife Services, Kenya Wildlife Service patrol boat at Ndere Island, MV Peeda technical checks for KRC, KPLC boat at Mfang’ano Island, MV Likoni Prow for Kenya Ferry Services, free maintenance checks to RV Mtafiti for Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI) and technical checks for boat engines at Usoma Beach Management Units (BMUs)


There are several types of vessels.

  1. Merchant Ships like (General cargo carrier, Dry Bulk Carrier, Container ships, cruise ships etc. that transport different cargoes.
  2. Naval Vessels (Offshore Patrol Vessels and Logistics Ships for security purposes.
  3. Fishing Vessels like Fishing trawler and Factory ship.
  4. Service vessels like Sea going tugs, dredgers, offshore support vessels and pilot vessels which provide propulsive power to other vessels.
  5. Inland Vessels like Propelled and non-propelled barges, Passenger boats and launches which operate within inland waters.


At KSL we understand that the safety of the crew is in the hands of the shipbuilder. We have in place our work safety policies, quality control policies and work safety education to sensitize staff on site. Ships operate in highly risky environments; shipbuilding projects has thousands of activities which are organized in different phases with engineering and production as the two main activities of the shipyard thus they require a high product quality in order to sustain in these environments and to make sure that the ship operate safely. Adhering to the Occupational Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE) regulations is of utmost importance for shipyards, especially in shipyard employment. Classification society wants to ensure that all class rules are followed.


Vessels are constructed in accordance with precise specifications which are tailored to the user requirements and these vessel specifications and drawings precisely detail the vessel. In shipbuilding, there are no prototypes so the designer a naval architect, must ‘get it right’ first time hence Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems is used. There are three distinct phases – concept, contract and detail design. In the concept phase the designer will establish the broad characteristics of the design in consultation with the owner. 

A modern ship has very complex engineering principles combining various types of equipment, technologies, and disciplines. The user specifications then allows the development of a basic specification such as deadweight, speed, range, capacity, stability, and freeboard. 


KSL like any other company has procedures involved in joining and in the event of vacancies, these are advertised in the official company website.


Shipbuilding is an assembly industry where wide varieties of materials are used; hence it is multidisciplinary with personnel with skills of various trades. Competencies in the industry are drawn right from the ship design and planning stage up to completion and handover.

Professional workers include various kinds of engineers, like marine engineers who design the machinery that will run a ship; naval architects, designers and drafters who prepare detailed drawings with the exact measurements and specifications for all the ship’s parts. Nautical architects further provide the design for a ship’s hull and plan space for cargo, crew living quarters, and machinery.

Crane workers as operators and riggers lift the plates and sections to form the hull. Ship fitters, who are one of the largest groups of workers, ensure that each section is in its place correctly and outside machinists install propelling machinery. Other technicians include carpenters, electricians, electronics technicians, painters, and sheet metal workers who outfit the ship. They build kitchens, bunks, and closets as well as install lights, heating systems and radar equipment among many other items.

Specialist interior designers are also needed. During sea trials, the naval architect assesses the weight of the finished vessel and checks its stability and loading particulars by referencing to the ship data on lightweight and centre of gravity.


The National Security Council approved the establishment of Kenya Shipyards Limited on 14 August 2020


A vessel’s entire design and construction is centered on the hull amounting to about 70 percent of a total structural design and therefore the process of hull design is so complex. Shipbuilding classification societies such as Lloyd’s Register and American Bureau of Shipping have established standard calculation forms for hull loads, strength requirements, thickness of hull plating and as such KSL works with these international societies and our Quality Assurance Engineers to ensure and verify adherence to standards and engineering principles.


Periodic maintenance, inspection, and repair are key in managing the structural integrity of ship systems in a life cycle. During design of a ship, the structural integrity is maintained based on classification society guideline. Hence, exceeding these limitations may result in over-stressing of the ship’s structure which may lead to failure. The ship’s approved loading manual provides a description of the operational loading conditions upon which the design of the hull structure is based.

KSL as such, adheres to ship building technology and engineering principles during ship construction, for example, use of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) for finding subsurface cracks, thereafter, there is a Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul Department responsible for predictive maintenance, corrective maintenance, risk-based maintenance which focus on essential equipment likely to breakdown and condition-based maintenance of vessels.


Seakeeping ability is a yardstick to estimate if a vessel can operate effectively and guarantee human safety even on high seas with rough conditions. Classification societies have published construction guidelines and operating standards to ensure vessel safety and standardization of ship construction. The design lifetime of ship structures is at least 25 years; hence, the aging effects are appropriately addressed during the design phase. During hull design, the Quality is defined by the ability to satisfy the requirements of serviceability, safety, compatibility, and durability.

Ships are built to meet standards of safety and pollution prevention and during construction. There are detailed inspections during construction and while in service, ply on waterways with rules governing its use, and in use, they are manned by well-trained crew. The marine environment is the most aggressive environment since the hull is constantly exposed to the seawater environment hence it experiences general corrosion, which reduces the plate thickness uniformly.

The Shipyards look into design, material selection, material perfections, proper welding and fabrication and workmanship. Corrosion wastage and fatigue cracks are the two most long-term aging effects of ship structures.


3D modeling is an inevitable tool in ship design and system integration. Through system integration, naval architect has to work together with the engineers from the Production, the maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul departments and the Electrical sections. During the design stages, the ship designer develops the most cost-efficient ship for a designated task, within the boundaries of international and national rules and regulations. Hence the electrical and mechanical systems layout are designed at this stage.

For example, the piping system, the electrical system and all equipment on-board is coordinated, so that no system interferes with another system in a negative way. 



Kenya Shipyards Limited is established through Executive Order CAB/GEN.3/1/1(60


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Headquarters Next to Kenya Navy Base, Mtongwe, Mombasa, Kenya.
Location Mombasa
Phone tel:+254719180472
Email info@kenyashipyards.co.ke.