Marine resources, including import and export of goods through the ports, can play a major role in Somaliland’s economic development. The EUCAP contribute to this development by capacity building of the Somaliland Coast Guard which provide services to the users of maritime domain.
As the EUCAP Strategic Advisor Kenneth Neijnes stated in the opening ceremony of a safety training course in Berbera in the beginning of September: “It is only the rule of law that will attract investment and shipping to Somaliland and the Coast Guard must play its part in this.”
New boats and more training
The twelve-day security course, funded by the EUCAP, is a part of a more comprehensive approach which includes donation of three fast and modern boats from Sweden to Somaliland Coast Guard and upcoming courses on techniques and maintenance of the boats as well as a course on maneuvering and operational navigation capacity. Also an outreach campaign to raise awareness on human trafficking and migration issues is planned to support the capacity building and positive development in Somaliland.
Captain Said, one of the facilitators of the safety training conducted by local trainers in the Berbera Maritime and Fishing Academy, also saw the training and the new boats as a factor in the economic development of the area:
“The arrival of the fast boats to the Somaliland Coast Guards will be a step forward and there will be a substantial change not only in maritime security but also in the economic sector through building trust and attracting investors.”
Captain Said speaking in the closing ceremony of the Coast Guard safety training financed by EUCAP.
Functions of the Coast Guard include vary from maritime security and surveillance, search and rescue, accident and disaster response to maritime boarder control, and maritime environmental protection. The Coast Guard Law adopted by the Somaliland House of Representatives, will, once into effect, lay out the duties of the Somaliland Coast Guard as a civilian maritime law enforcement agency that have police powers. EUCAP will continue the capacity building of the Somaliland Coast Guard to support them to fulfill all their duties, keeping in mind also the work place security of the Coast Guard officers.
“This training will change a lot”
The training in September covered topics like personal safety, accident and fire prevention and firefighting precautions and related techniques. Practical exercises were conducted on land and at sea. Now the participants can not only discover the fire on board but are able to take the right actions swiftly. They are also more competent on working relationships on board, shipboard management structure and responsibilities, safe working practices with enhanced communications, control of fatigue, teamwork, and marine environmental awareness issues. They are aware, among many other things, of health and hygiene issues and know how to fight hypothermia.
“This training will change a lot of things in our daily work. The course was unique compared to the other training we have had earlier as we had enough time for practical drills. Now we are familiar with rescue and emergency practices as well as First Aid”, said Coast Guard boat driver Abdihakim Hassan Hirsi.
Also Lt. Col. Omar Adil was convinced that the training will affect the work of the Somaliland Coast Guard: “I’m sure these weeks of training were productive and will increase the capability of the Somaliland Coast Guard. Thank you EUCAP for your efforts and commitment so far, but we do need more training on related issues in the future.”
The next training course for Somaliland Coast Guard is planned to take place already in October.