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Maldives National Security Service Coast Guard

The Coast Guard is one of the most important part of the military force of the Maldives. The geography of the Maldives makes the Coast Guard the most responsible party of the military force. As the Maldives is geographically disparate, the Coast Guard would form the bulk of the armed forces in the country.

Under a plan developed by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which governed from 2008 to 2012, the Coast Guard would be made up of 3 battalions (1620 personnel) excluding the Administrative, Logistics, Communication, Training, Engineering and Transport Personnel. They would also be classified under three different regions and function under their own regional commanders. Their primary objective is the protection and oversight of the Maldivian territorial waters. Smuggling, trespassing, piracy, economic piracy, search and rescue, and protection of maritime trade routes should also be in the area of their responsibility.

The Coast Guard would have the means and the capability to intercept, board, and detain vessels entering Maldivian territorial waters if necessary. The fleet would include fast patrol vessels and search and rescue vessels, indicating the two main functions which it will be most engaged with.

The responsibilities of the Coast Guard include defending the nation and its territorial integrity, protecting the territorial waters, safeguarding the marine environment and Coastal Area, enforcing the Maritime Law, assisting the people and conducting search and rescue missions, responding to national emergencies and crises and providing support and mobility to other services of the MNDF.

The the maritime security is a constituent ingredient of the national security in a maritime nation such as the Maldives and its significance is best understood when one perceives the island or the archipelagic nature of the country.

The Coast Guard of the Maldives National Defence Force is mandated to protect the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Maldives and its resources and conduct maritime defence of the nation. It also has the responsibility to conduct search and rescue operations in response to maritime accidents involving lives and property. As a small nation with a vast Exclusive Economic Zone, protection of the zone by patrolling and surveillance and by responding to encroachments is burdensome but essential for national security and the long-term viability of the fishing industry.

Establishing operation centers in strategic locations is important to provide faster and better service to the public whenever and wherever needed. These centers need to be equipped with appropriate long and near range coastal vessels to meet the Search and Rescue (SAR) and patrolling requirements. Building of a network of information sharing and surveillance with private fishing and transportation vessel operators of the country is also crucial to further strengthen this task.

The role of the Maldivian National Coast Guard (MCNG):

  • To protect the EFZ (Exclusive Fisheries Zone) & exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
  • To protect the territorial waters of the Nation from all sorts of illegal activities, namely illegal poaching, drug trafficking and arms trafficking.
  • To preserve and protect the marine environmental hazards (such as oil spill & chemical dumping).
  • To conduct search and rescue missions.
  • To respond to all natural disasters and conduct relief operations.
  • To train its personals and guard its own installations.

A new uniform was introduced for Coast Guard personnel on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Coast Guard. To inaugurate the new uniform, the headgear of the uniform was presented by Minister of Defence Colonel (Rtd) Mohamed Nazim at a ceremony held at the conference room of the Coast Guard Building 01 January 2013.

Nazim said that the purpose of introducing a separate uniform for the Coast Guard is to ensure a modern arrangement for the force that is similar to other countries, and to facilitate the same level of professionalism for Maldivian Coast Guard as other countries in the region. The first uniforms used by MNDF included a white uniform for daytime and a red one at night. By 1979, changes had been made to the uniforms on four occasions. A law on uniforms of MNDF personnel came into effect on 21 April 1998.

In 2006 India handed over the INS Tillanchang to the Maldives National Security Service Coast Guard at an impressive ceremony held in the port city of Male the capital of Maldives. With a gentle breeze blowing from the Indian Ocean, on an otherwise sultry morning, the Indian ensign was hauled down for the last time from INS Tillanchang. The Indian crew disembarked from the ship and the Maldivian crew took charge. The Maldivian National flag was hauled up and the ship was rechristened Huravee after a Maldivian hero and a freedom fighter. A galaxy of dignitaries of Maldives including the President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Minister of Defence and National Security Mr Ismail Shaifeeu, Foreign Minister Dr Ahmad Shaheed attend the ceremony.

The Indian side was led by the Defence Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee. Others who attended the function included the Indian High Commissioner Shri AK Pande, Chairman and Managing Director of Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Rear Admiral TS Ganeshan, senior officials from the Ministry of Defence and Indian Navy. Speaking on the occasion Shri Mukherjee described the event as a truly landmark and historic one and announced that the Indian Navy will assist the National Security Service in the maintenance and up keep of this patrol craft during her lifetime.

Named after one of the islands of the Andaman and Nicobar chain, the INS Tillanchang, built by Defence Public Sector Undertaking, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata was inducted into the Indian Navy five years ago. The 260 tonne Trinkat class fast attack craft INS Tillanchang is fitted with state-of-the-art navigation aids, communication and GMDSS Systems, which facilitate her role-worthiness and effectiveness in operational missions, air operations, safe navigation and survival at sea.

The main armament is the indigenous 30 mm gun, manufactured by Ordnance factory Medak. Two high speed boats have been provided onboard for facilitating rapid interception in shallow waters and lifesaving tasks. Powered by MTU engines of German make it has a maximum speeds of 28 knots and is capable of extended deployment up to 2000 nautical miles. The ship is also capable of mobilizing a naval Quick Reaction Team of up to 35 men at short notice.

The ship will primarily be used for patrolling, policing and search and rescue missions in the vast areas of sea around Maldivian chain of islands, considerably enhancing their capability against illegal poaching and drug trafficking.

In 2013 a project began for the reclamation of an area of approximately 85.26ha. at Uthuruthilafalhu which will be developed as a coast guard base and dock yard in addition to other facilities. 38.84ha of the reclaimed area will be utilized for the coast guard base and dock yard which will be developed as a full-fledged based for the coast guard of MNDF inclusive of accommodation facility for retied MNDF personnel. 39.4 ha of land is proposed to be utilized as a fuel farm while 6.0 ha will be developed as a warehouse and recreational island for families of MNDF personnel.

On 11 June 2015 the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, on behalf of Ministry of Defence and National Security (the Employer), invited bids from eligible and qualified bidders for the Supply of 05 Launches for the Coast Guard of Maldives National Defence Force.

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