By Buba Gagigo
The international Organisation for Migration (IOM) has handed over a speedboat to the Gambia Immigration Department (GID) in a ceremony held at the ports in Banjul on Tuesday.
The Ambassador of Japan to the Gambia, His Excellency Mr Izawa Osamu, whose country funds the project said the boat is provided within the project of “Strengthening operational capacities for Gambian authorities to manage borders, and respond to health crisis and socio-economic impacts of COVID-19”, within the framework of Japan’s supplementary budget 2020.
The ambassador said the speedboat fitted with Yamaha engines procured in the project is estimated to contribute to minimize the loss of lives of young Gambians by organized smuggling syndicates promoting irregular migration at sea.
The Director General of the Gambia Immigration Department (GID), Seedy M. Touray said the donation is significant in many aspects.
“The donation and handing over of a speed boat to the GID today is a very positive development and significant in many respects. Henceforth, with the aid of this speed boat, the GID will be able to conduct regular maritime patrols and effectively respond to reports of potential irregular migration boat departures from The Gambia
“These efforts, will not only aid
the Department to control and patrol sea borders for national security but
most importantly will save many young lives that could have perished at sea
in the hands of migrant smugglers,” he said.
The representative of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Mr. Stephen Matete said the Speedboat is a 36-foot fiberglass boat, with 300-horsepower Yamaha outboard engine with standard specifications, fitted with communication kits, life jackets
and safety kits.
“Four GID officials assigned for this boat operations have been trained on Yamaha
engine maintenance course by a certified Yamaha instructor to ensure proper use and maintenance of the speedboat. Furthermore, plans are underway to conduct trainings targeting border officials on search and rescue operations at sea to improve their capacities in maritime surveillance.
“This will be conducted through inter-agency cooperation led by the Navy and Civil Guardia from Spain with us here today,” he said.
The speedboat will contribute to building The Gambia’s operational capacities in maritime security and enhance inter-agency coordination for maritime surveillance.