Colorado, USA – 20 April 2016: The Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium has partnered with the Oceans Beyond Piracy project to establish a network of maritime operations centers in major Somali ports that will improve safety for local traffic through improved communications in Somali waters. The centers are also expected to help establish maritime situational awareness with the intent of combatting illegal fishing, piracy and other maritime crimes.
The first part of this network, known as the Maritime Communication Initiative (MCI), will be to establish a maritime operations center for the Somaliland Coast Guard in Berbera. Construction of this center is currently underway as a joint effort involving EUCAP Nestor and UNODC. The construction of necessary infrastructure for the operations center, including the installation of solar panels, refurbishments to the room that will house the center and the installation of a communications mast has been completed. Additionally, significant upgrades in information technology and the initial installation of maritime situational awareness sensors have also been completed.
Initial training for the operations staff has been carried out by EUCAP Nestor and OBP. The staff was trained in maritime communications procedures and the basics of maritime situational awareness and information sharing. Additionally on the 15th and 16th of February in the vicinity of Berbera, FGS ERFURT conducted Local Maritime Capacity Building train with Somaliland Coast Guard personnel in order to provide a basic knowledge about maritime situational awareness as well as basic Global Maritime Distress and Safety System voice procedures.
The next tranche of training and equipment installation will proceed in late May after the provision of internet through the establishment of a private—public partnership between Somaliland authorities and a local internet service provider.