Tuesday May 23, 2023
Mogadishu – Fifteen Somalia Navy and Coast Guard (SNCG) officers have completed specialised training on maritime security in a joint initiative conducted by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia).“This refresher training is in line with the goals espoused in the Somalia Transition Plan and ATMIS mandate, specifically with regard to mentorship and capacity building of Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) institutions across all domains,” said Major General Peter Muteti, the ATMIS Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and Logistics.
The two-week course, which included theory and practicals, was aimed at helping Somalia secure the longest coastline in Africa ahead of the drawdown of 2,000 ATMIS troops by 30 June 2023.
Speaking on Sunday at a ceremony marking the end of the training, Muteti said it had been a significant milestone in ongoing efforts to build robust Somali institutions in preparation for the gradual handover of security responsibilities to Somali Security Forces (SSF) in line the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 2628 and 2670.
“Capacity building of the SNCG is therefore critical to enable the conduct of Maritime Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue (SAR), and Somalia Coastal Defense while securing sea-lanes of communication and protecting against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, dumping of hazardous waste among other crimes,” Maj. Gen. Muteti told the closing event.
Somalia boasts the longest coastline in Africa, measuring about 3,300 kilometres, rich in sea-based resources. It has often been exploited by illegal fishing and smugglers and will need a well-trained and equipped navy to ensure the country can fully benefit from the ‘blue economy’.
Over the years, ATMIS, EUCAP and the United Nations (UN) in Somalia have aided the country’s maritime security sector through mentoring, capacity development, training, logistics and strategic level advice, based on coast guard functions, among others.
Dr. Fabian Loewenberg, Deputy Head of Mission of EUCAP Somalia, stated that training is essential to assisting Somalia in dealing with maritime concerns and that EUCAP will continue to support future training.
“Reflecting on the subject of training, I take the interest and determination of many to advance and develop a well-functioning Somalia Navy and Coast Guard,” he said. Maj. Abdiwaahid Ali Afrah, SNCG Deputy Force Commander urged the trainees to “embrace and share knowledge and skills gained from the training to other colleagues.”
The trainees were taken through a wide range of courses including maritime safety, marine mechanics, coast guard duties, maritime law, first aid, and communication procedures, among others.
Ahmed Abdulrashid Omar, a Somali National Army (SNA) planning officer with five years of experience, expressed great confidence in the training.
“I have gained a lot of knowledge mainly launching, patrolling, boat checking in all conditions, navigation, and many other practical and theoretical sessions,” he said, referring to skills essential for the Navy and Coast Guard officers.
Maj. Matthew Achiga, ATMIS Maritime Commander, noted that “the training has served its purpose because the trainees can demonstrate understanding of maritime domain awareness, boat handling and a basic understanding of boat troubleshooting.”