This week Kenya Navy and other Kenyan maritime partners participated in Exercise Usalama Baharini at Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa. The exercise was conducted by European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Operation Atalanta in collaboration with Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment (DCoC).

The exercise was designed to enhance the capacity building among Kenya’s maritime partners in the conduct of maritime operations, enhancing interoperability and information sharing among operation centres. It also demonstrated practical simulation of legal finish of apprehended maritime offenders.

Speaking during the closing ceremony, the Administration Secretary of State Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs, Mr Isaiah Nakoru commended the participants for the knowledge and experience in maritime interdiction operations and legal finish which was displayed during the demonstration. He appreciated the critical roles that each of the maritime stakeholders play in their day to day operations while securing Kenya’s maritime domain. He urged them to continue collaborating while conducting similar multiagency exercises to address other maritime security challenges.

The European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Her Excellency Henriette Geiger noted that maritime security can only be achieved if maritime actors collaborate during operations. She emphasized that trade needs safer routes for goods to transit. She highlighted the pivotal role of enhancing strategic partnerships in disrupting the norm of catch and release aimed at enhancing legal finish for maritime offenders in Kenya.

The Operation Commander EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta, Vice Admiral Ignacio Villanueva Serrano recognized Kenya Navy and Kenya Coast Guard Services (KCGS) as the main maritime actors within the Western Indian Ocean region. He reiterated that interoperability between maritime stakeholders will contribute to maritime security and stability within the Indian Ocean region and the possibility to enhance future collaboration and presence.

Brigadier Sankale Kiswaa, the Commander Kenya Navy Fleet implored that the ability to effectively communicate and work seamlessly across agency lines can be the difference between success and failure. He observed that the exercise has strengthened Kenya’s maritime stakeholders’ networks, enhanced coordination, sharpened operating procedures and built a foundation of trust that will be carried forward during daily maritime security operations.

The exercise culminated with a practical simulation of interdiction of a vessel of interest engaged in piracy, smuggling of Narcotics and Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing in the high seas showing professionalism and determination of Kenya’s maritime partners.

Exercise participants were drawn from EUNAVFOR, DCoC, International Maritime Organization and Go Blue. Kenyan participants included Kenya Navy, KCGS, Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Ports Authority and other maritime partners.

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