His Excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta the President and Commander-in -Chief of the the Kenya Defence Forces on Monday, 19 November 2018 officially launched the Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS), a maritime security organ that will operate in high seas to protect Kenya’s territorial waters against terrorism, piracy, illegal fishing, human and drug trafficking among other maritime crimes.
Speaking at a ceremony held in Liwatoni Fisheries Complex in Mombasa, the President noted that despite the Country having massive potential from her marine resources, over ten billion shillings were lost annually from illegal economic activities on Kenya’s territorial waters. The advent of the Coast Guard, he emphasized would help a great deal in ensuring the Country reaches the level maximally utilizing her marine resources. ”Maritime resources contribute to only 2.5 per cent of our GDP, yet if they were fully exploited they would bring the country more than triple that amount, offer jobs and even livelihoods to thousands,” he said.
The President commended the Blue Economy Implementation Standing Committee for all the support and effort it has put in order to ensure the realization of the Coast Guard Service. ”Maritime security forms the backbone of the Blue Economy. I am thankful that the idea of a Coast Guard was born through the lengthy and tireless efforts of the Blue Economy Committee,” he added.
The head of state also commissioned the Service’s vessel KCGS DORIA. The vessels among others, will be used to conduct patrols on Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to prevent illegal activities.
Speaking in his capacity as the Blue Economy Implementation Standing Committee Chairman, Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Samson Mwathethe described the occasion as critical in the realization of the Blue Economy, thanking the President for the support to his committee, and recognizing all the state departments and stakeholders who had so far committed themselves to the journey. The CDF praised the Kenya Seafarers Union and the Kibuyuni Seaweed Farmers Group which he described as Champions of the Blue Economy.
The Kenya Coast Guard Service was established under the Kenya Coast Guard Service Act 2018 and was operationalized on 22 October 2018. The Service, which will be commanded by a Director General, a position currently held by Kenya Navy’s Brigadier Vincent Loonena, has a role of ensuring safety in Kenya’s territorial waters, safeguarding Kenya’s ports and prevention of dumping of harmful wastes and pollutants in Kenya’s waters. It will also offer search and rescue services and prevent illegal commercial activities like fishing on Kenya’s waters. The service shall have its headquarter at Liwatoni, Mombasa and will operate mainly in Mombasa, Kisumu and Lamu.
The launch takes place only a week before the first Global Blue Economy Conference to be held in Nairobi in which over 8000 participants are expected to turn up.
The President makes his addresses moments after launching the Kenya Coast Guard Service.
Chief of the Defence Forces and Blue Economy Implementation Steering Committee Chairman General Samson Mwathethe addresses stakeholders during KCGS launch.
His Excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces of the Republic of Kenya hands over the Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS) flag to the Director General Brigadier Vincent Loonena to signify the official launch of the service at the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex Mombasa on 19, November 2018.
President Kenyatta having a light moment with members of the Coast Guard, most of who were seconded from the Kenya Navy.