Puntland Government in northern Somalia granted private company, Somali Security Service (SSS) a license to patrol territorial waters against illegal fishing during a ceremony held at Bossaso seaport, Garowe Online reports.
Puntland Fisheries Minister Abdinur Elmi Bindo, Bari Governor Abdisamad Mohamed Galan, Bossaso Mayor Hassan Abdale Hassan, security commanders led by Bari-regional police commander and the head of the Private company-allegedly aligned with Puntland President-Abdiweli Ali Taar attended the ceremony.
Somali Security Service (SSS) head told journalists at Bossaso port that they will provide Puntland’s Ministry for Fisheries with a ship which will take part in endeavor aiming to fight trawling vessels off the coast of Puntland.
He said the move follows calls for increased protection for territorial waters on account of looming national disaster by Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali.
Speaking next to Fisheries Minister, Taar stressed the need for more ships with armed guards on-board in the coming months.
SSS owner headed now-defunct company, SOMCAN that struck agreement with first Puntland leader Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed. SOMCAN militias had since 2008 been remaining under the command of the current Bari regional police commander Abdihakin Yusuf Hussein.
As a result of alarming pillage of marine resources and piracy off the East African coast, Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF)-Somalia’s first-ever anti-piracy unit-was set up in 2010. Having launched on-land raids on pirate hideouts, PMPF receives financial support from United Arab Emirates.
Analysts tell GO that the decision to hire private company would cast doubt on the mandate of Puntland Marine Forces.
Insiders familiar with such developments further noted while talking to GO that track record for private patrolling at sea proved failed in Puntland, with trained officers lured into seizure of ships and crewmen for ransom at the peak of high seas crimes.
Maritime Security News:
This is an interesting move; using a private security company (albeit a Somali one) to patrol the country’s waters shows a remarkable lack of foresight when you already have the Puntland Maritime Police Force and its kit sitting around. Highly trained, they pursued pirates throughout Puntland and actually made a dent in their operations.
It will be interesting to see how and where the PMPF are now deployed, if at all.