Berbera port is a base for the Somaliland Coast Guard, a maritime security unit that has for long sought to enhance its working conditions and to save lives at sea. For a long time, getting urgent assistance from the nearest Coast Guard station took some time due to the lack of an emergency number to call and the absence of public safety equipment. Moreover, minor oil leaks from vessels using the sea have caused water pollution in the area.
In partnership with the Somaliland Coast Guard, Berbera Mayor and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), the EUCAP Field Office Hargeisa team has been working on ways to improve the operational competence of the SL CG officers and the public safety of the beach for the past few years.
To reinforce its presence and support, EUCAP is planning to open a sub office in Berbera close to the Coast Guard base and provide office space to the Somaliland Coast Guard. The offices consist of working stations for EUCAP advisers and for the SL CG officers, with a generator and toilet block. The shared offices allow Coast Guard officers to receive timely mentorship.
The four offices were inaugurated last week in a ceremony attended by the mayor of Berbera, the Berbera Maritime and Fisheries Academy President, the Deputy Governor of Sahil Region, the Deputy Commander of the Coastguard, the Swedish MSB representative, and the EUCAP Field Office Hargeisa team.
At this event, the former Head of Field Office, Hargeisa, Ronnie Willman, said: “We are delighted to advise, guide, and support the SLCG in all facets of the broad responsibilities that the Coast Guard carries.” Our programme of support, here very tangibly supplemented by the support of MSB Sweden, will continue to assist the SLCG in its future development. ”
At a subsequent ceremony held at the EUCAP Field Office in Hargeisa hosted by Kenneth Neijnes, Head of Maritime Security and Coast Guard Unit, Colonel Ali Hassan thanked the combined construction team from MSB and EUCAP.
The lifebuoys installed at the Batalaale swimming beach are a superb addition to the safety of all swimmers and tourists who come to the beach at Berbera. We thank EUCAP and the Government of Sweden for facilitating this initiative. We will continue working with EUCAP to ensure that our local rescue teams are competently trained, which will further enhance safety at sea, “added Abdishakur Mohamoud, Mayor of Berbera.
The Swedish MSB and EUCAP also donated maritime environmental protection equipment and, most importantly, water-safety equipment, including 15 lifebuoys to be used by the SL CG and the public in the Berbera area. These lifebuoys containing safety notices have been mounted along the shoreline at Batalaale beach, a location that has seen a significant number of accidents and drownings over the years. Possible oil spills can be absorbed by the environmental protection equipment, which requires some training and is expected to be delivered by the Sweden MSB Specialist Team in January.
In addition, the SL CG will now be monitoring the new emergency number, 991, for maritime emergencies in Berbera, an initiative that the mayor of Berbera firmly supports.
While it is still early to see the results of these office installations, environmental equipment, emergency numbers, and lifebuoys, they are expected to add value to the operations of the Coast Guard and improve public safety in Somaliland.