The Somaliland Coast Guard in Berbera has received three fast patrol boats donated by Sweden as well as other equipment and training.
The European Union Capacity Building Mission (EUCAP) in Somalia on 2 December said that its Maritime Operational Capability Project reached a milestone with the delivery of three fast boats with trailers and spare partsdonated by Sweden. The Somaliland Coast Guard (SLCG) also received three cars: two from the EU Delegation and one fromEUCAP, to support building slipways and other necessary facilities for the boats.
Additionally, 80 SLCG officers received training for safe and efficient use of the boats. Basic safetytraining was given to 50 officers, while 30 officers received maintenance and technology and navigationand operational training.
In her speech on the occasion of the hand-over ceremony, EUCAP Head of Mission Maria-CristinaStepanescu referred to the partnership among the Somaliland Coast Guard, the Berbera Maritime andFishing Academy (BMFA), UNODC, and the European Union (EU).
“This project, aiming at enhancing the Somaliland Coast Guard capacities is an epitome of thecomprehensive approach and cooperation between the Somaliland authorities, the internationalcommunity and the EU. Sweden as an EU Member State donated the much needed vehicles and alsosent experts to train Somaliland officers in handling and maintaining the boats,” said Stepanescu.
Several dignitaries from Somaliland and the EU attended the handover ceremony, including theSomaliland Deputy Minister of Interior, H.E. Mohamed Musa Diriya, the Somaliland CoastguardCommander Admiral Mahamed Hussein Farah, the Governor of Sahil Region, Jama Yusuf, the DeputyAttorney General, Yusuf Abdullahi, the Governor of Sahel/Berbera Region, the President of the BMFAAbdiqani and representatives of the Embassy of Sweden, counsellor Johan Svensson and Political OfficerJenney Andersson.
EUCAP said the port of Berbera is of crucial importance to the Somaliland maritime economy, and EUCAP supportsthis development through capacity building of the SLCG. “The SLCG is also vital to the development of the maritime rule of law, which means that the SLCG needsto be a champion in respecting human rights and gender equality.”
Somali piracy has decreased dramatically since its height in 2011 when 160 incidents were reported, but experts have warned against complacency. There have been at least two attempted hijackings in 2018 off the Somali coast. The problem is being kept at bay through the implementation of best management practices, armed security guards and patrols by international navies.