Commander of Djibouti’s coastguard Colonel Wais Omar Bogoreh stressed that his forces have increased their patrols in the Bab al-Mandeb strait, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in wake of the threats in the region.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he underlined their vital importance to global trade, adding that the tensions in the region have limited impact on Djibouti.
Moreover, he said his forces have a high level of coordination with other naval forces in the regional water off Djibouti to secure global trade and navigation in the Mandeb Strait and Gulf of Aden.
Speaking from the headquarters of Djibouti’s coastguard, Bogoreh said his forces have in recent weeks offered assistance and security services and rescued several vessels that were affected by the rising tensions in the Red Sea.
He revealed that some ships are waiting “for security reasons” before setting sail again. “Others have been damaged and were taken in for maintenance before resuming their journeys. Some vessels have remained because our zone is safe.”
Coordination with Saudi Arabia
Bogoreh, who is a graduate of Saudi Arabia’s King Fahad Naval Academy in Jubail, expressed his gratitude to the governments of Djibouti and Saudi Arabia for their coordination, concern and massive efforts in securing marine navigation in this vital part of the world.
He took Asharq Al-Awsat on a tour to observe the coastguard at work, where it saw dozens of vessels that were anchored in Djibouti's regional waters, possibly awaiting the latest developments in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden to determine whether to resume or change course.
Bogoreh said plans and strategies have been drafted to confront any “current and future challenges”. He stressed that the Djibouti coastguard is tasked with securing sea navigation. “It is exerting efforts to carry out its sea duties, especially in its regional waters and in international waters.”
“We are exerting massive efforts to maintain marine navigation, save lives and implement national and international marine laws,” he stated.
He stated that the rising tensions in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb, Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean prompted his forces to increase their efforts to preserve marine security in regional and neighboring waters.
The coastguard is working with Djibouti’s navy and other marine forces deployed outside of the country’s regional waters. “We are coordinating, cooperating and exchanging expertise,” Bogoreh told Asharq Al-Awsat. “Our goal is to preserve marine security.”
Moreover, he said the tensions are having a limited impact on his country, expecting the situation to remain unchanged in the future, but suggesting that the economy could take a hit because “80 percent of it relies on marine trade. With some vessels changing course, our economy will certainly be affected.”
Ready to face challenges
Bogoreh acknowledged that instability in neighboring countries may inevitably impact Djibouti “in varying degrees”, but so far, his country has remained unaffected, crediting this to efforts carried out by the republic to secure its marine and land borders.
“We hope this will continue and for our neighbors to enjoy the same security and stability,” he added.
He stressed that Djibouti has “prepared plans and strategies to confront any challenges in this region.”
The government, coastguard and navy are fully prepared to confront any challenges that may arise.
“We must remain vigilant,” he added, acknowledging that challenges are present and “we are prepared for them now, and in the future.”
Asked if there were concerns that the foreign military bases in Djibouti may be targeted in attacks related to the Red Sea tensions and the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, he replied: “They have nothing to do with the developments at sea.”
“The bases are symbolic and are not involved in the problems. We are present at sea, while they are on land. They are our guests, and I don't think they will be affected by the developments in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb area,” he added.