Sustained Support to Maritime Law Enforcement Authorities

With the longest coastline in mainland Africa and a position adjacent to some of the world's busiest shipping routes, Somalia is a nation that looks to the sea for its future. The seas offer huge opportunities for sustainable and Somali-led employment and development. The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) is, however, concerned over the lack of capacity to manage Somali maritime resources effectively.

While the presence of international navies off the Horn of Africa has suppressed piracy, it has had little impact on other aspects of maritime crime. Somalia continues to have a reputation as the launching point for terrorism, piracy, people trafficking and smuggling operations which obstructs efforts to commercialise Somali marine resources. Meanwhile, the inability of Somalia to successfully do this is consistently seen as one of the underlying causes of instability. Piracy remains a substantial threat and this is in part attributed to problems with unregulated fishing by foreign vessels in Somali waters. Proceeds from smuggling of charcoal and sugar by sea are seen to fuel terrorism. Other maritime threats such as human trafficking, smuggling of weapons, migrants, drugs and alcohol also hinder effective stabilisation of the country.

The Horn of Africa sub-programme of UNODC's Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP HoA) assists Somalia to address maritime crime. Under the programme, UNODC delivers support to the maritime law enforcement authorities, and is one of very few programmes that are actively engaged with Somali Law Enforcement on the waterfront. MCP HoA's success has been derived from the delivery of sustainable capacity building through the placement of experts in seamanship, marine engineering, maritime law enforcement, and communications with regional maritime law enforcement authorities in Somalia as full-time in- country mentors. In Mogadishu, mentors work with the Somali Police Force's Maritime Police Unit (MPU), in Puntland with the Bosasso Port Police (BPP) and in Somaliland, with the Somaliland Coast Guard (SLCG) in Berbera. National teams consisting of national programme officers, interpreters, and drivers further support the mentors in each of the regions.