EUCAP Somalia’s new Head of Maritime and Coast Guard Unit Ramon Ribas De Reyna has a long experience from the field of maritime security, and working in the Horn of Africa. After several years in Brussels, dealing with the EU military missions, he is excited to be back in the field and support the civilian side of the Somali maritime security sector.
‘’Somalia, including Somaliland, has enormous richness. Its strategic geographical location with its amazing cultural heritage, and more than three thousand kilometres of coast line has a tremendous potential to become a prosperous nation. EUCAP’s goal is to make this happen’’, Ribas De Reyna says.
The former Spanish marine officer’s job is to lead the mission’s maritime and coast guard unit which is contributing to the establishment and capacity building of maritime civilian law enforcement capability. This goal is achieved by supporting the development of the regional maritime capabilities, the coast guard and police reform on the federal and regional level, together with the mission’s field offices in Mogadishu, Garowe and Hargeisa.
A thriving maritime sector – fishing, exploration and shipping-safe ports – are Somalia’s most under-exploited sources of revenue. This so called blue growth would require securing the waters, which should be done based on a national consensus on an overall maritime strategy. That’s where EUCAP Somalia – together with other international partners – is supporting the Somalis.
Ribas De Reyna thinks that seeing some of this change in ten years’ time is possible.
‘’I see Somalia with a sound and robust coast guard system, capable to enforce the maritime law in its full spectrum, with an established network of search and rescue centres all across the Federal Member States, and with an improved rule of law situation with reduced corruption and effective prosecution of all maritime crimes.’’
To reach this vision the mission is currently supporting the Somalis in several fields of expertise.
‘’I would like to highlight three areas of our current work. First of all, we’re ensuring the establishment of the Department of Coast Guard in Mogadishu as a capable, modern, well equipped, motivated and ready to perform basic coast guard functions in its area of operations. Secondly, we support the Somali Maritime Administration (SMA), and its Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) under the Ministry of Ports and Marine Transportation (MPMT). Last but not least, our team is working together with counterparts to strengthen the maritime justice chain in criminal issues’’, Ribas De Reyna summarises.