NAIROBI, KENYA, NOVEMBER 20 — Kenya has made new developments in its efforts to protect her territorial waters mainly the Indian Ocean. This is by formation of the new Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS) commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday (November 19, 2018). During the commissioning in Mombasa, President Kenyatta said the new KCGS will safeguard the country from Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing by foreign trawlers, smuggling of contrabands, trafficking and degradation of the marine ecosystem among other threats.The president further directed the Fisheries Department and National Land Commission to ensure that all gazetted fish landing sites in the country are recovered and secured by the end of the first quarter of 2019. He has sent a warning to law breakers saying Kenya will arrest and prosecute persons and entities who violate the country’s maritime laws.
With the latest developments, here is what you need to know about the Kenya Coast Guard and the country’s territorial waters.
The Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS)
This is a multi-agency security service established under the Kenya Coast Guard Service Act, 2018 to enforce law and order in Kenya’s territorial waters.
Where is the Kenya Coast Guard Service based?
The office of the Kenya Coast Guard Service is located at Liwatoni in the coastal city of Mombasa with a strong presence in Kisumu City (Lake Victoria region) Lamu and Mombasa ports.
When was the Kenya Coast Guard Service established?
The Kenya Coast Guard Service Act, 2018, was enacted, when H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta signed it into law. This paved way for the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government to issue a gazette notice declaring November 2, 2018 as the commencement of the service’s operations.
What is the governance structure of the Kenya Coast Guard Service?
The Apex body of the service is the Council of the Kenya Coast Guard Service which is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary Interior and Coordination of National Government. Others in the council include Cabinet Secretaries of Defense, Treasury, Transport, Agriculture and Environment, the Attorney General, the CDF, Inspector General Police and the Director General KCGS. The Act also establishes the technical committee of the service which is chaired by the Principal Secretary Interior. Other members include the PS’s for Treasury, Fisheries, Environment, Defense and Transport. The Solicitor General, Chief of Defence Forces, Inspector General of Police, Director General of the service, Director General of the Kenya Maritime Authority, the Managing Director Kenya Ports Authority and the DG National Intelligence Service also sit in the Technical Committee.
What is the role of the Council of KCGS?
The Council provides overall policy leadership, coordination of partner departments such as Fisheries, Kenya Revenue Authority, Ports Authorities and approval of budget and commissioning of operations.
What is the role of the Technical Committee?
The Technical Committee oversees management and administration of the service, advice the council on matters of the service, guides the Director General of the service on implementation of the council’s policy and financial guidelines and undertakes all other relevant management duties.
What is the role of the DG, Kenya Coast Guard Service?
President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Brig. Vincent Naisho Loonena as the founding Director General of KCGS. He is responsible for the day to day administration, management and control of the resources that is human, financial and technological; overall command of the disciplined and uniformed service. He will also oversee and implements the policies of the service.
Who does the Director General report to?
The Director General of KCGS reports to both the council and technical committee.
What does the Kenya Coast Guard Service do?
Protect Kenya’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone from illegal invasion or exploitation. This includes but is not limited to illegal and unregulated fishing, border disputes, piracy, human and drug trafficking, illicit trade, smuggling contraband goods, degradation of the marine ecosystems, through discharge of oil or dumping of toxic waste, sand harvesting destruction of coral reefs etc. The Kenya Coast Guard Service will also ensure 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 initiative will strengthen our border with a larger and related goal of mitigating its risks of transnational organized crime through increased trans-border intelligence and information sharing As a result, the service will contribute significantly to managing migration, improve internal security and prevent of cross border crime.
Is the Kenya Coast Guard Service part of the Navy?
The answer is No!
What is the Kenya Coast Guard’s jurisdiction?
The Kenya Coast Guard Service exercise powers over Kenya’s territorial waters and any other area prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
What does Kenya’s territorial waters comprise of?
Kenya’s territorial waters comprise of:
a) All natural water resources within the borders
b) Waters within 12 nautical miles of the country’s shore line (Territorial sea)
c) Kenya’s exclusive economic zone (200 Nautical miles, beyond the territorial sea)
What is the size of Kenya’s Territorial Sea?
The sovereignty of a state extends beyond its land territory and internal waters to an adjacent belt of the sea. Kenya’s territorial sea extends 12 Nautical miles of the country’s shore line. Kenya’s coastline and inland waters cover 222,950 square kilometers.
What is the Exclusive Economic Zone?
Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zone stretches 200 Nautical miles beyond her territorial sea. Kenyans has the first right to exploit all economic activity covered by this zone. This includes fishing, drilling and other economic activity.
Impact on the Blue Economy
The overall aim of activating the Blue Economy is to double the country’s Gross Product growth over the next 5-15 years. Kenya has done very well in securing its airspace and securing exploiting its land based natural resources. Launch of KCGS provides a shift in focus and a huge recognition of the economic potential of our water based resources and the need to secure and exploit them to our countries economic development.