A group of 15 Somali Navy and Coast Guard officers have completed a two-week specialised training on maritime security, aimed at enhancing the protection of Somalia’s long coastline. The training was jointly facilitated by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and the European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia).
The training is part of ongoing efforts to build the capacity of the Somali Security Forces (SSF) and prepare them to assume maritime security responsibilities ahead of the exit of ATMIS forces at the end of 2024. Somalia has Africa’s longest coastline, measuring 3,333 km, and its security is critical to the stability of the country and the Horn of Africa region.
The training covered topics such as general seamanship, basic safety, boat maintenance, radio communications, maritime law, and first aid skills. The 15 Coast Guard officers are the second group to undergo the training, following a similar program completed by 15 soldiers last month.
According to Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding, the ATMIS Force Commander, the training is in line with the objectives of the Somali Transition Plan (STP) and the ATMIS mandate, specifically with regard to mentorship and capacity building of the Federal Government of Somalia institutions across all domains. The training is a key milestone for Somalia in building a strong naval force that would be significant in supporting the country’s security architecture.
The crisis management mission will continue to train the SSF to help the country establish an efficient and vibrant security force, said Sven Lidner, Senior Maritime Advisor, EUCAP Somalia. Lidner emphasized the need to continue the series of trainings, ideally every two to three months, to improve the capacity of the Somali Navy and Coast Guard (SNCG).
The training was commended by Maj. Abdiwahid Ali Afrah, SNCG Deputy Commander, who thanked the facilitators for instilling the necessary skills and knowledge in the officers. Inspector Yusuf Abdi Hersi, a participant, described the training as a game-changer in his career as a navy officer, stating it would assist him in improving his area of work based on the topics he learned, including navigation, maritime rules, and first aid, among others.
The trainers underscored the importance of securing Somalia’s unique coastline, which is not only one of Africa’s major shipping routes but also one of the richest in marine resources.
The training is expected to improve the professional standards of the SNCG and help enhance the security of Somalia’s coastline.