Uhuru: Coast Guard will protect Kenya from drug, human trafficking

Uhuru: Coast Guard will protect Kenya from drug, human trafficking

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday said the Kenya Coast Guard Service will safeguard the country from smuggling of contraband goods, drugs, arms as well as illegal fishing.

President Kenyatta, speaking during the launch of the service at Liwatoni in Mombasa, stated that illegal fishing costs the country approximately Ksh.10 billion annually.

“The Coast Guard will ensure that our oceans will no longer be used by drug traffickers, human traffickers, illegal arms and illegal fishing. It will also guard against exploitation of our natural resources by foreign countries and ensure that never again will foreign vessels steal our fish,” said Kenyatta.

“We also declare that we will arrest and prosecute anyone in our waters who does not comply with our relevant legislations.”

The Head of State further stated that the establishment of the Coast Guard should, within the next five years, oversee the creation over 10,000 direct jobs for the Kenyan youth.

He added that the government would also create world-class training facilities in maritime studies as well as jump-start coastal agriculture and agro-processing.

President Kenyatta also directed the Department of Fisheries and the National Land Commission (NLC) to use the full force of the law in recovering all illegally acquired fish landing sites along the Kenyan Coast as well as all other water bodies in the country by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

“Today let me recognise one holding limited for voluntarily returning Liwatoni to the government for it’s rightful use. And let me also urge any who have also acquired fish landing sites and other public land to emulate them by returning these public assets to government,” said the President.

The Commander-in-Chief on Wednesday November 14 appointed Brigadier Vincent Naisho Loonena as the first ever Director General of the Kenya Coast Guard Service in an acting capacity.

Loonena, who has a past career spanning 20 years with the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), was appointed to the post from the Defence Forces Medical Insurance Scheme where he served as Managing Director for four months.