Turnover of Speedboats Enhances Djiboutian Navy Maritime Capabilities

Col. Abdourahman Aden Cher, Djibouti navy commander, speaks to ceremony attendees at the Djibouti Navy Headquarters, April 4, 2013. During the event, he thanked the U.S. Navy and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa for their support as Djibouti continues to develop its navy. The occasion marked Djiboutian sailors' completion of training to operate two U.S.-sponsored speed boats that will enhance the Djiboutian navy's maritime security capabilities to protect its borders, fight piracy and combat terrorism. The ceremony followed with a boat demonstration and the presentation of keys to Col. Abdourahman. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Caleb Pierce)    CJTF-HOA Photo Col. Abdourahman Aden Cher, Djibouti navy commander, speaks to ceremony attendees at the Djibouti Navy Headquarters, April 4, 2013. During the event, he thanked the U.S. Navy and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa for their support as Djibouti continues to develop its navy. The occasion marked Djiboutian sailors' completion of training to operate two U.S.-sponsored speed boats that will enhance the Djiboutian navy's maritime security capabilities to protect its borders, fight piracy and combat terrorism. The ceremony followed with a boat demonstration and the presentation of keys to Col. Abdourahman. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Caleb Pierce)
Djiboutian navy and U.S. service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa tour the new Metal Shark 28 Defiant boats during a ceremony at Djibouti Navy Headquarters, April 4, 2013. The U.S. Department of State provided two speedboats to help Djibouti's navy enhance its maritime security capabilities and protect the Djiboutian coastline, fight piracy and combat terrorism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Caleb Pierce) CJTF-HOA Photo Djiboutian navy and U.S. service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa tour the new Metal Shark 28 Defiant boats during a ceremony at Djibouti Navy Headquarters, April 4, 2013. The U.S. Department of State provided two speedboats to help Djibouti's navy enhance its maritime security capabilities and protect the Djiboutian coastline, fight piracy and combat terrorism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Caleb Pierce)
Djiboutian navy and U.S. service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) participate in a demonstration of the newly received Metal Shark 28 Defiant boats during a ceremony at Djibouti Navy Headquarters, April 4, 2013. CJTF-HOA helped turn over the two speedboats to the Djiboutian navy to help enhance its maritime security capabilities and protect the Djiboutian coastline, fight piracy and combat terrorism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Caleb Pierce) CJTF-HOA Photo Djiboutian navy and U.S. service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) participate in a demonstration of the newly received Metal Shark 28 Defiant boats during a ceremony at Djibouti Navy Headquarters, April 4, 2013. CJTF-HOA helped turn over the two speedboats to the Djiboutian navy to help enhance its maritime security capabilities and protect the Djiboutian coastline, fight piracy and combat terrorism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Caleb Pierce)
Djiboutian navy and U.S. service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa participate in a demonstration of the newly received Metal Shark 28 Defiant boats during a ceremony at Djibouti Navy Headquarters, April 4, 2013. The occasion marked Djiboutian sailors' completion of training to operate two U.S.-sponsored speedboats that will enhance the navy's maritime security capabilities to protect its borders, fight piracy and combat terrorism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Caleb Pierce) CJTF-HOA Photo Djiboutian navy and U.S. service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa participate in a demonstration of the newly received Metal Shark 28 Defiant boats during a ceremony at Djibouti Navy Headquarters, April 4, 2013. The occasion marked Djiboutian sailors' completion of training to operate two U.S.-sponsored speedboats that will enhance the navy's maritime security capabilities to protect its borders, fight piracy and combat terrorism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Caleb Pierce)
U.S. Navy Capt. Darwin Webster, right, deputy director for operations, Operations Directorate, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, presents the keys for two new speedboats to Col. Abdourahman Aden Cher, commander of the Djiboutian navy, at Djibouti Navy Headquarters, April 4, 2013. The U.S. Department of State provided the speedboats to enhance the Djiboutian navy's maritime security capabilities and protect the Djiboutian coastline, fight piracy and combat terrorism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Caleb Pierce) CJTF-HOA Photo U.S. Navy Capt. Darwin Webster, right, deputy director for operations, Operations Directorate, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, presents the keys for two new speedboats to Col. Abdourahman Aden Cher, commander of the Djiboutian navy, at Djibouti Navy Headquarters, April 4, 2013. The U.S. Department of State provided the speedboats to enhance the Djiboutian navy's maritime security capabilities and protect the Djiboutian coastline, fight piracy and combat terrorism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Caleb Pierce)

The U.S. Department of State has provided the Djiboutian navy with two high-speed aluminum coastal security boats to strengthen Djibouti's maritime security capabilities to protect its borders and combat piracy, smuggling and terrorist threats.

During a boat delivery and turnover ceremony at the Djibouti Navy Headquarters, Escale Marina, more than a dozen Djiboutian sailors received certification for the state-of-the-art patrol boats.

"On the occasion of receiving two speedboats, I thank our U.S. forces partners for their support in the development of our navy," said Col. Abdourahman Aden Cher, Djibouti navy commander.

The boats, Metal Shark 28 Defiants, follow the recent implementation of Djibouti's 12 nautical mile-reaching Regional Maritime Awareness Capability system and Automatic Identification System receivers that enable detection of maritime activities within about 100 nautical miles. These assets enhance Djibouti's maritime security capability to monitor the more than 20,000 vessels that transit annually through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

"Geographically, we are a nation of the sea," Lieutenant Col. Ahmed Daher Djama, Djibouti Navy deputy commander, said. "The center of gravity of the Djiboutian economy is the sea, so navy capability to protect our nation is critical in safeguarding our common interests of protecting the liberty and the life of Djibouti and America."

The U.S. Embassy's security cooperation chief agreed. "Djibouti is a key partner in the region," U.S. Army Maj. Joseph Guido, said. "They're in kind of a difficult neighborhood with Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen being neighbors, and it is critical Djibouti has the capacity it needs to effectively control its borders."

Djibouti's (off-shore) jurisdiction is 12 nautical miles from its coastline, Djama noted, and Yemen is 16 nautical miles from Djibouti, at the nearest point.

Overall, Guido stressed the importance of continually fostering the partnership between Djibouti and the U.S. given the volume of commercial and Navy traffic going through its straits.

"Djibouti has proven to be the eye of calm in the hurricane that revolves around them," Major Guido said. "Our partnership is very strong and the Djiboutian navy development program is robust."

Overall, Col. Abdourahman said he considers the turnover of the two boats an important milestone in the U.S. assistance in defeating violent extremist organizations and transnational threats, and in strengthening Djibouti's ability to promote security and maintain stability as an independent nation and a key player in the Horn of Africa region.

"Indeed, with the radar surveillance system and the acquisition of the fast patrol boats provided by the United States, these two stars will strengthen our actions, interventions and identifications of suspicious activity," Col. Abdourahman said.

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Piracy Maritime Security Djibouti

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