New police boats to boost war on illegal fishing
Kenya Police Service has acquired six armoured boats to patrol of its portion of the Indian Ocean as it moves to tame sea criminals and illegal fishing.
Inspector General of police Joseph Boinnet said the boats, supplied by Korean firm Fine Inc, at a cost of Sh1 billion, would be used to beef up security in the country’s waters which stretch 200 nautical miles.
“They will help in the fight against drugs, terrorism, piracy contraband goods and other types of international crime,” Mr Boinnet said when he launched the boats at the Mombasa port on Thursday.
The acquisition of the surveillance boats come just weeks after the Cabinet approved a bill to guide the setting up of a Coast Guard Service, a specialised agency which will eventually take up the task of providing security on the Kenyan waters.
There have been concerns over rising cases of unregulated and illegal fishing within Kenyan waters.
According to the Fisheries Department, the country loses more than Sh10 billion worth of fish exports to illegal fishing annually since the department is unable to police the Exclusive Economic Zone.
Two months ago, the government launched a monitoring system which enables officers to identify vessels carrying out illegal fishing and it is expected that the police patrols will enhance the efforts to curb this crime
“The boats are of a high capacity (one can carry 63 officers), which was lacking with our marine police.
‘‘We can now confidently say that we are now capable of policing our waters,” the police boss added.