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Gendarmerie Maritime (Coast Guards)

On 27 September 2010, France and the Union of the Comoros signed a new Defence Partnership Agreement to develop the Comorian military capabilities, providing for cooperation in the field of maritime security. The latter is especially relevant at a time when maritime piracy from Somalia has extended its activities to the entrance of the Mozambique Channel.

The fishing industry is already expanding. Surveillance out at sea to prevent the looting of natural resources and to save the lives of fishermen, who are frequently in distress, called for the creation of a coast guard. The Comorian navy boils down to two light patrol ships delivered in the early 1980s by Japan and whose general condition remains highly debatable. The Comoros have had two patrol boats of the Japanese Yamayuri class since 1981. In addition, the country would have a dozen zodiac type light craft.

Comoros therefore depends totally on international aid, especially from France. A defence treaty with France provides naval protection for territorial waters and air surveillance. France maintains a small maritime base and a foreign legion contingent in Comoros.

A policy for the exploitation of the marine environment including an integrated management and management plan for the coastal zone is necessary to ensure the sustainability of the resource and the overall balance of the islands. For fishing, the main concern is lack of equipment, especially outboard motor boats (vedettes), the lack of security for fishermen out at sea, and low market prices for fish, especially in Nzwani and Mwali.

The Comoros has major fishing potential, which could make a significant contribution to growth, poverty reduction, and a higher quality diet for the population. Unfortunately, the coastal areas are over-exploited while resources further out to sea remain largely underexploited. That is because of lack of the right equipment for deep sea fishing and little knowledge among fishermen of the necessary techniques. Apart from that, fish products are seasonal and the lack of conservation and processing facilities means that there are shortages and, consequently, marked price swings. This situation penalizes both consumers, particularly the neediest, and the development of the sector.

The vast majority of the Comorians live off the coast in spite of profound difficulties: capricious nature, unstable markets and insufficient infrastructures. Here, everyone can become a fisherman or become a fisherman for a weekend, a month, etc. In Anjouan, it is not uncommon to have several trades simultaneously in order to earn a living.

With the arrival in January 2010 of two speedboats, it would be easier to rescue crews at sea, travelers by boat and sinners in difficulty in the Comorian waters. This is a common occurrence in the Comoros. Equipped with two 300 horsepower engines each, these boast can by calm sea, go from Moroni to Fomboni, Mohli, in less than thirty minutes, according to technicians.

The President of the Republic during the impromptu visit he made to the Port of Moroni on Thursday 7 January 2010, accompanied by his Director of Defense Cabinet, to see the two stars Rescue services offered as a gift to the Union of the Comoros by the Republic of Turkey, stated "Our relations with the Republic of Turkey are growing day by day. It has equipped our hospital of reference in materials of cardiology, it welcomed Comorian engineers in agriculture and here it is today, it intervenes in a sector that is essential for us, an island country; To take a first step towards the creation of a Comorian marine unit".

Thanks to the catalytic effects, the contribution of the Fund to ENFAG reinforces the support provided by the Americans who have set up a language laboratory. The Chinese Cooperation has also set up prefabricated barracks which will ultimately increase the capacity of the school and have trained more than 20 men for the Comorian navy.

On 14 June 2010, the 27 foreign ministers of the European Union approved the enlargement of the area of operation of the Atalante operation to Mayotte, abandoned when the new coverage zone was defined by the Operation Atalante which stops at the southern border of Tanzania. At the end of September, France and the Union of the Comoros reactivated defense agreements after eleven years of interruption. One of the main objectives of this agreement was to ensure the security of the Comorian waters. A French aid for the modernization of the Comorian navy, which has only old patrol boats, would therefore be welcome. The taking of hostages confirms the reality of the danger.

The greatest uncertainty and anxiety weighs on the practices and vocation of the Comorian navy. It is not questionable whether new means should be put in place to improve the service between the Comoros Islands and the island of Mayotte or other regional islands. But the use of La Vende in the Indian Ocean would not comply with the rules and requirements of maritime safety. The same would apply to any other region where the framework for maritime safety and the maintenance of passenger ships are notoriously deficient.

Consequently, the Compagnie Yeu Continent and the General Council of Vende could deconstruct in France this ship built in France and designed for coastal traffic. By selling to Comorian interests this Atlantic Coast veteran, shipowners would take unthinking risks and prove that they had not learned the lessons of the Joola sinking in Senegal or other coastal ferries or ocean-going vessels used abusively on the high seas.

On September 27, 2010, Herv Morin, French Defense Minister and Comorian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Fahmi Said Ibrahim, signed a "renewed" defense agreement after an interruption of 11 years. The latter is essentially based on military cooperation in the field of maritime safety. At the time of signing the agreement, the Union of Comoros had difficulties in enforcing its exclusive economic zone, in particular with its Mozambican neighbor. French aid should also make it possible to modernize the Comorian navy and to support the Comorian authorities in civil protection actions with regard to seismic and volcanic risks.

When US Joint Civil Affairs Team 101 with Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, invited the Comorian Coast Guard and commando unit to participate in our physical training sessions, they gladly accepted. Being trained as command fitness leader were able to apply what they had learned in the states to exercise sessions. Not only have these sessions enabled physical readiness while deployed, but they helped build espirit de corps, leaving the door open for future engagements.

In 2012 the UNDP provided funding for the building housing the brand new Comorian Coast Guard unit and the renovation of the police stations.

The Chinese Ambassador to the Comoros, Xiao Ming, handed over several materials to the National Development Army (NDA). This batch of about 1.2 billion Comorian francs [One euro equals approximately 490,31 Comorian francs] included a patrol vessel, an emergency rescue vehicle and several high-tech equipment. The Chinese ambassador also said that the Chinese army will remain in the archipelago to train the Comorian authorities in the maneuvering of the patrol vessel and to assist on-site handling of these high-tech equipment. According to President Ikililou Dhoinine, This gift of military equipment marks once again the Sino-Comorian cooperation and the friendship that binds the two peoples as well as the governments of the two countries.

Upon the request of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in May 2016 the Sri Lanka Navy conducted a specialized ship boarding training for the naval and coastguard personnel of Madagascar and Comoros. This training was carried out by the Navys elite, Special Boat Squadron (SBS) in Trincomalee and at Sri Lanka Coast Guard Training Centre Mirissa. As a result, six personnel from Comoros Coast Guard and another six personnel of Madagascar Navy along with an interpreter from Madagascar are being trained on procedures and tactics in relation to Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS).

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Page last modified: 24-07-2017 18:27:49 ZULU