Was not really that long ago that Somalia had one of the largest Navies on the African continent, perhaps only second in size to that of South Africa.
It was a professional navy initially equipped and trained by the Italians and later by the Russians.
But in the 1990’s it seemed to disappear, 150+ vessels no longer around!
In 2009 Admiral Farah Omar Ahmed a professional and experienced member of the original Somali Navy was brought back by the TFG to rebuild the maritime forces.
Only one slight problem! No vessels!!
Now you would think that with all the International aid the funding of the navy would be no problem. But with reports of the Army and Police not being paid, what chance would the 500 new Somali Marines have.
So what has been happening to the millions of dollars that were being pain into the TFG ?
You may even perhaps think that there would at least be a few fast attack patrol boats left around from the old Somali Navy that could be used. But no nothing.
In August an agreement was signed in Galkayo between the TFG and the Puntland Government which amongst other things included the formation of the Somali Navy.
It was agreed that the headquarters would be in Garowe, roughly in the center of Somalia between the two main ports of Mogadishu and Bossaso.
But this was not to be as the agreement was cancelled by the President of the TFG.
Now the interesting part.
It would seem that a number of fishing vessels and a refrigeration ship have been refurbished in another country in the area and have since gone to sea!
But it would also seem that 2/3 former Somali Navy Patrol Boats have re-appeared and having also been refurbished have also gone to sea.
Should this be correct, who now owns these vessels, who has paid for them and where have they been over the years?
Many people are linking President Sharif Ahmed of the TFG with some Somali business men who are suspected of using the old Somali navy and fishing vessels for their own private fishing industry.
Interestingly should these vessels now be fishing in the Somali EEZ on what authority and under what flag?
None I would imagine, like many others.
So what did happen to the Somali Navy? The ‘pirates’ do not have the vessels!
If there was again a Somali Navy how different things could be and what could be the role for Puntland State which controls the most strategic coast line of Somalia.
Published: February 10, 2011