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NATO Continues Training of Somali Port Police

GULF OF ADEN – This week, Task Force 508 of NATO’s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD continued its effort to build regional capacity through two days of training Somali Boosaaso Port Police on board the flagship HDMS ESBERN SNARE.

This training built upon earlier efforts conducted since October, where Coast Guard personnel from the Galmudug Region on Somalia’s east coast and other Boosaaso Port Police received similar training.

"With the first two groups, we were really breaking new ground, but now the feeling is more that of a continued effort,” said the Commanding Officer of HDMS ESBERN SNARE, Commander s.g. Henrik Holck Rasmussen. "It points towards the long term goal of local Somali forces maintaining maritime security themselves.”

The training programme was identical to the one completed by the first group of trainees from Boosaaso Port Police to ensure that the policemen have a homogeneous level of training. The programme included boarding operations, first aid, the legal basis for maritime law enforcement, and how to secure evidence for trials against maritime criminals.

This second group of trainees from the Boosaaso Port Police was distinct from the previous group by having a female participant. The NATO Gender Focal Point in Operation OCEAN SHIELD, Commander Thorbjørn Hein, had a chance to talk with her.

"She is in a leadership position on the force and is respected by her colleagues,” said Commander Hein.  "She is aware of her responsibility as a role model for other women in the region.”

The graduation ceremony on board HDMS ESBERN SNARE was attended by the Puntland Minister of Marine Transport, Ports and Counter Piracy, Mr. Abdallah Jama Saleh, the Chief of the Boosaaso Port Police, Colonel Mohammad Ali Hashi, and Deputy Minister for Fishery and Marine Resource, Mr. Mohamud Mohamed Ali.

"What I have seen during these two days has impressed me,” said Commander s.g. Rassussen, as he handed out graduation certificates to the 17 trainees.  "You are skilled, professional, and eager to learn. I wish you all the best and I hope that the next time we will not be training you, but we will conduct exercises together.”

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