U.N. ASSISTANCE MISSION IN SOMALIA | Photos by EUCAP SOMALIA
Somalia’s maritime capabilities received a boost on March 30, 2022, with the inauguration of a state-of-the-art facility for the Somali Police Force (SPF) in the capital, Mogadishu.
The $3 million project was funded by the European Union and implemented by the U.N. Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The facility will provide a base from which the SPF can operate around Mogadishu Port and along the Somali coastline.
The facility, under construction since 2018, is made up of a furnished headquarters block with information technology equipment, a detention facility, a floating jetty and boat ramp, and an accommodation unit. It also has been equipped with maritime communications equipment to support operational readiness. As part of the project, 60 police officers were trained and attended workshops on maritime law enforcement, marine engineering and maritime communications.
“The SPF maritime law enforcement component will have a much, much more effective ability to operate and interact offshore and within the coastal areas of Somalia to ensure maritime crime is reduced,” UNOPS Country Director for Somalia, Tim Lardner, said at the inauguration.
Somalia’s 3,300-kilometer coastline extends along strategic international shipping routes. Somali leaders hope to spur innovation and growth in the coastal, marine and maritime sector in coming years.
“For Somalia to continue expanding its ‘blue economy’ and benefit from wealth-generating opportunities its vast coast offers, maritime security and law enforcement will need to continue playing an enabling role,” said Anita Kiki Gbeho, the U.N. secretary-general’s deputy special representative for Somalia.
Also at the event, UNODC’s Regional Representative for East Africa, Neil Walsh, highlighted that the facility will strengthen Somalia’s fight against transnational and maritime organized crime.
“We’re able to help police and investigators visit, board, search and seize in keeping maritime security to the highest possible capability,” Walsh said. “Doing this together, there is no more important partner for us than the federal government of Somalia, and working with our partners across the U.N. and across the EU, we can make a real difference.”