The Republic of Kenya now has a fully functional national Coast Guard Service after President Uhuru Kenyatta officially commissioned the multi-agency security unit on Monday, November 19, 2018, absolute with a KSh 3.6 billion surveillance vessel.
Being a new idea in the country, many may be wondering about the service’s composition and functions among other issues. Here is all the facts you need to know concerning the Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS).
What is the Kenya Coast Guard Service?
The Kenya Coast Guard Service AKA (KCGS) is a specialised maritime force accountable for enforcing law and order in Kenya’s national waters. The multi-agency security service was authorised under the Kenya Coast Guard Service Act, 2018, which the president approved into law in September of 2018.
What are the roles of the Kenya Coast Guard Service?
The KCGS will defend Kenya’s territorial waters and exclusive economic region from illegal invasion or exploitation.
This constitutes illegal and unregulated fishing, border disputes, piracy, human and drug trafficking, illicit trade, smuggling counterfeiting goods, degradation of the marine ecosystems through release of oil or dumping of toxic waste, sand collection and destruction of coral reefs among others.
The service will also guarantee that vessels, sea farers and all users in the sea have the necessary licenses approving their operations at sea, whether work, leisure or business.
This action will strengthen the country’s boundary with a larger and related goal of mitigating its risks of transnational organised crime through improved trans-border intelligence and knowledge sharing.
It is additionally responsible for arresting and prosecuting offenders and as a result, this service will contribute significantly to managing migration, improve internal security and blocking of cross-border crime.
What do Kenya’s territorial waters comprise of?
Kenya’s territorial waters include:
a) All natural water resources inside the borders.
b) Waters that are within 12 nautical miles of the country’s coastline (territorial sea)
c) Kenya’s independent economic zone (200 nautical miles beyond the territorial sea. Kenyans has the fundamental right to exploit any commercial activity within this region, including drilling and fishing).
Where will the Kenya Coast Guard Service be based?
The KCGS official headquarters will be in Liwatoni on the north-eastern shore of Kilindini Harbour in Mombasa.
The agency will further have a strong presence in all significant ocean ports in the country including Malindi , Kilifi, and Lamu, as well as in Lake Turkana and on the shores of Lake Victoria in the lake port of Kisumu.
What Equipment will the agency use?
The coast guard fleet will be built around MV Doria, a new marine vessel that was commissioned on Monday, November 19, 2018. Speed scouting boats will be among the other key equipment in use.
Who will serve in the KCGS?
The agency consists of professional security personnel drawn from the Kenya Defense Forces, the National Police Service, the National Intelligence Service and civilian professionals.
Brigadier Vincent Naisho Loonena, a 20-year Kenya Navy veteran, has been selected as the first-ever Director General of the agency.
What is the governance structure of the Kenya Coast Guard Service?
The service will be directed by the Council of the Kenya Coast Guard Service which will be chaired by the Interior Cabinet Secretary.
Others in the council will involve CSs for Defense, Treasury, Transport, Agriculture and Environment as well as the Attorney General, the Chief of Defense Forces, the Inspector General Police and the Director-General KCGS.
The Act additionally establishes the technical committee of the service to be chaired by the PS Interior.
Other divisions will include the PSs for Treasury, Fisheries, Environment, Defense and Transport. The Solicitor General, the CDF, the IG, that of the National Intelligence Service, the Director Generals of the service, the Kenya Ports Authority and that of Kenya Maritime Authority will likewise sit in the committee.
Is the Kenya Coast Guard Service part of the Navy?
No, it’s not
Why is the Coast Guard Service Necessary?
It is predicted that Kenya loses KShs 10 billion in revenue yearly due to illegal trade and criminal activities happening at sea. The coastal guard is required to keep Kenya’s seashores safe from aggression, illegal commercial businesses and other known crimes.
What will be its influence on the Blue Economy?
The general aim of activating the Blue Economy is to increase GP growth over the next five-15 years. Kenya has done exceedingly well in securing its airspace and securing exploiting its land-based natural resources.
The launch of KCGS provides a shift in focus and a tremendous recognition of the economic potential of our water-based resources and the need to secure and exploit them to our countries economic development.