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Strengthening Somalia's Ports

Handbook for prosecutors on responses to VAWGSomalia's ports are crucial in facilitating international trade and are vital gateways for imports and exports. As the largest harbor in the country, the Port of Mogadishu is strategically located on the Indian Ocean, connecting Somalia to the global market and supporting economic growth and development in the region. However, with the potential risks of smuggling, piracy, and terrorist activities, effective port law enforcement is essential for Somalia. Without adequate measures, the country's ports could become vulnerable to criminal and terrorist threats, leading to severe negative impacts on the economy and overall stability. 

"In my teenage years, I witnessed the presence of illicit contraband on the streets of Somalia. I saw people suffering from the effects of these items, whether it was through health issues caused by counterfeit medications or economic hardships resulting from the smuggling of illegal goods. These experiences deeply impacted me and motivated me to take action to prevent such harm from occurring in the future, which has motivated me to join the port authority under the Ministry of Ports and Marine Transport. I am now at the forefront of protecting the well-being and security of my fellow Somalians by ensuring that only legal and safe items enter our country,” said Abdulkadir Jama, who has been with the Ports Authority for the last six years and is a security officer.  

UNODC's Abraham with MoJ's Meraf opening VAWG trainingThe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Maritime Crime Programme (UNODC GMCP) concluded phase one of the first-ever joint port law enforcement training in Mogadishu, bringing together 20 personnel from the Somali Police Force Coast Guard Department (SPF-DCG) and the Ministry of Ports and Marine Transport (MPMT). The primary objective of the training was to equip officers and staff with the necessary skills and knowledge to address maritime crime and ensure effective port security. Throughout the training, participants gained a deeper understanding of threat assessment, risk management, response strategies, and effective maritime law enforcement. 

"I decided to participate in this training because I am deeply passionate about maritime security and the protection of ports. By attending this training, I have enhanced my knowledge and skills in this field, enabling me to contribute more effectively to the security efforts of our Coast Guard department," commented SPF-DCG Constable Mohamed Nunow. 

By completing the training, the participants are better equipped to assess potential threats, develop risk management plans, and respond effectively to crime and security incidents. The training has strengthened port security and the capacity to prevent and respond to maritime crime in Somalia.

"The participants were enthusiastic and eager to learn, which made the training sessions engaging and productive. Their willingness to ask questions and share their experiences added depth to the discussions and fostered a collaborative learning environment," said the UNODC Port Law Enforcement Mentor responsible for delivering the course.

After completing the training, participants have reported feeling more confident handling security threats and implementing new strategies learned during the sessions. They have stated that this has increased the way they will work together to ensure the safety and security of the port. For instance, one participant mentioned that port law enforcement staff “would revise their emergency response plan based on the knowledge gained from the training, resulting in a more efficient and effective approach to handling security incidents." 

Additionally, participants have expressed their intention to share the information and strategies learned during the training with their colleagues, further enhancing the overall security culture within the organisation. Course participants recently participated in a security meeting with all security agencies working with the MPMT. The meeting allowed them to discuss and implement new strategies and protocols to address potential criminal and terrorist threats more effectively.

There are plans to have another training this year to ensure the sustainability of the progress made. The UNODC GMCP mentor also highlighted the participants' dedication and commitment to implementing the knowledge gained from the training sessions into their daily work. This ongoing cooperation and commitment to continuous improvement will enhance port security measures.

This training was funded by the United States through the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) to support the capacity-building efforts in Somalia.

Watch training video here:

For more information, please contact:

Mr. David O’Connell (

Western Indian Ocean Programme Coordinator

Global Maritime Crime Programme

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Click here to visit the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme website.