Japan has donated 17 patrol boats to Kenya to help the East African country improve maritime security.
The boats were handed over to the Maritime Police at the Port of Mombasa by Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Ryoichi Horie on 2 October.
“In order to support Kenya’s efforts in strengthening coastal security and anti-terrorism measures, Japan is today handing over 17 Japanese made boats worth about $2.8 million to the Maritime Police Unit as a grant to the Republic of Kenya. In addition, Japan and Kenya have signed another grant worth $2.8 million for the purchase of more patrol boats,” Horie said.
The 17 boats comprised two 12 metre boats with twin inboard engines; five 8 metre boats with outboard engines and ten 6 metre boats with outboard engines.
Deputy Inspector General of the Kenya Police Service, Edward Mbugua, said that “we have had instances of piracy in the Indian Ocean and therefore the donation will assist us in dealing with pirates at the sea.”
Horie said Japan was committed to helping Kenya fight terrorism and strengthening coastal security. He mentioned that the recent TICAD 7 Conference on Japan’s contributions for Africa in the Blue Economy, had goals to train at least a thousand people in three years in the areas of maritime security, port enhancement and marine resource management.
“Last year, the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference was held in Nairobi at the Ministerial level to discuss how to harness the potential of water bodies and improve the lives of all while protecting these water resources,” he said.
The Kenyan Maritime Police Unit was established in 2007 to provide security along the seas and lakes in Kenya and deal with arms smuggling, cattle rustling, drug trafficking, child trafficking, illegal migration, terrorism piracy and illegal fishing and trawling. In 2017, the Maritime Police Unit acquired six patrol boats from South Korea.
Last year the United States donated ten Metal Shark patrol boats to the Kenyan Navy, worth $4.9 million, representing the largest US maritime security cooperation programme in sub-Saharan Africa. The boats are 10 metre Relentless models, which are powered by twin outboard motors.