US donates 6 Metal Shark boats to the Kenyan Navy to help fight terrorism
The boats represent the largest US maritime security cooperation programme in sub-Saharan Africa.
The six boats, which are part of the 10 provided through a Sh500 million ($5M) grant from the US Department of Defence, were delivered to the Kenya Navy at the Mombasa port by US ambassador Robert Godec on Tuesday.
“The United States values the Kenyan commitment to building a more peaceful and secure Kenya and East Africa region,” a statement from the embassy said.
The Metal Shark boats which have capacity to operate in challenging maritime environment and are rugged enough to endure extended operations with minimal maintenance are expected to reinforce the Kenya Navy’s maritime security awareness capability and support plans to expand the blue economy.
“They will bolster the Kenya Navy’s capability to deploy rangers and other quick reaction forces from the sea and to patrol and defend the more than 500km maritime border. They will help the Kenya Navy, and KDF (Kenya Defence Forces) at large, to continue forward in the fight against terrorism,” Mr Godec said.
The Metal Shark boats will bolster the Kenya Navy’s capacity to combat Islamist militantsAl-Shabaab who had been exploiting Indian’s oceans vast and porous maritime border to enter Kenya and neighboring countries to carry out terrorists attacks, resulting in a more stable and peaceful East Africa.
“Today we reaffirm that the United States is and will remain your steadfast partner in the fight against terrorism and extremism.”
The US Navy and the Kenya Navy have been partnering for more than 40 years.
Since 2003, the US Department of Defence has provided Kenya with more than Sh1.7 billion of hardware assistance and training equipment, Sh300 million of professional development and Sh100 million of maintenance upgrades for naval equipment.
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