Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched the Kenya Coast Guard and commissioned the MV Doria as its first vessel.
The Coast Guard was inaugurated during a ceremony on 19 November at the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex in Mobasa. Kenyatta said that “the Coast Guard will ensure that our ocean will not be used for drug and human trafficking, and illegal fishing. It will guard against exploitation of our natural resources by foreign countries and ensure that no foreign vessel will steal our fish.
“I have directed the National Land Commission and the Department of Fisheries to ensure that all fish landing sites at the Coast, at Lake Victoria, and other areas across the country are recovered and secured by the end of the first quarter of 2019.”
Kenyatta officially commissioned the MV Doria vessel, which will be used to patrol Kenyan waters as the country steps up efforts in protecting, and effectively harnessing its maritime resources.
“Kenya has great potential for growing the Blue Economy, which would immensely contribute to our GDP, as well as create more jobs. This can only be achieved if we put in the work, invest appropriately and fully harness our maritime resources,” Kenyatta said.
Kenya loses around $100 million a year to illegal fishing.
The new Coast Guard will be headed by Brigadier Victor Naisho Loonena. It comprises personnel from the police, army and intelligence services and civilian professionals seconded from the Public Service Commission.
The Kenya Coast Guard was established by The Coast Guard Service Act 2018, which was gazetted by interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi on 22 October 2018.
The MV Doria was handed over to Kenya in August 2017 by Bangladeshi shipbuilder Western Marine Shipyard (WMS) after being ordered on 23 January 2014 by Denmark’s JGH Marine on Kenya’s behalf. MV Doria’s keel was laid in August 2014, and the hull completed in December 2015. The vessel was wholly designed and developed by Icarus Marine in Cape Town.
According to WMS, the vessel is 54.7 metres long, and displaces 350 tons empty. Cruising speed is 20-25 knots and top speed is 35 knots with a range 1 500 nautical miles and fuel consumption of 3.6 tons a day. The vessel has 12 crew and can take 60 passengers. A helicopter deck on the back of the vessel can accommodate a five ton helicopter.
The vessel is powered by three MTU engines driving two Servogear controllable pitch propellers and MJP waterjets. The propeller engines produce 4 000 kW of power and the waterjet engine 2 720 kW.
It has been armed with a single 20 mm Oerlikon cannon.