MOGADISHU, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Fifteen Somali Navy and Coast Guard officers have wrapped up a two-week training to help enhance maritime security along the country's coastline.
The joint initiative conducted by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and the European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia) was aimed at helping Somalia secure the longest coastline in Africa ahead of the withdrawal of 2,000 ATMIS soldiers by June 30, the African Union mission said in a statement issued on Monday evening in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.
"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 Somali government institutions across all domains," said Peter Muteti, the ATMIS deputy force commander in charge of support and logistics.
Somalia boasts the longest coastline in Africa, measuring about 3,300 km, rich in sea-based resources. The coastline has often been exploited by illegal fishing and smugglers, and a well-trained and equipped navy is needed to ensure that the country can fully benefit from the blue economy.
Muteti said it has 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 in line with the UN Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670.
He said the capacity building of the Somali Navy and Coast Guard is therefore critical to enable them to conduct maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, and coastal defense of Somalia, while securing sea lanes of communication and protecting against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, dumping of hazardous waste, and other crimes.
Over the years, ATMIS, EUCAP Somalia and the United Nations 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.
The trainees took a wide range of courses, including maritime safety, marine mechanics, coast guard duties, maritime law, first aid, and communication procedures.