By: Nyima Sillah
The Japanese government Tuesday through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) donated a new patrol speed boat to the Gambia Immigration Department (GID) at a presentation ceremony held in Banjul.
The boat aimed to strengthen operational capacities for Gambian Authorities to manage borders, and respond to health crises and socio-economic impacts of covid-19.
Speaking at the donation ceremony, Director General of Gambia Immigration Department, Seedy M Touray, described the boat donation as a positive development and significant.
“Henceforth, with the aid of the 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 migrants’ smugglers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Managing Director GPA, Ousman Jobarteh, said: “to have collaboration where the immigration department is strengthened with resources to facilitate their operations goes a long way to improving the good image and activeness of the Port of Banjul in the international supply chain.”
“We welcome the gesture and the goodwill from Japan and we also encourage the relationship to be strengthened further to ensure that there is sustainability in the use of the equipment handed over today in terms of its maintenance growing,” he added.
According to him, one of the key responsibilities of the government is to contribute and ensure that irregular migration is mitigated and encourage citizens to stay in their homes.
He also urged the immigration department to make the best use of the equipment so that it will serve its intended purpose.
Japanese Ambassador HE Mr. Osamu Izawa said the project seeks to strengthen the maritime and border management capacity for a safe and orderly flow of travelers.
“I am sure the border control capacity of GID will be strengthened by training organized by the IOM Gambian office and prosecute speed board. In West Africa, the Gambia and Senegal, and neighbouring countries we have to secure the safety, the peace, and stability of these regions, and without maritime security, we cannot achieve it so Japan is happy to contribute and strengthen the capacity of Maritime safety in this area,” he said
Representing International Organisation for Migration, Stephen Matete highlighted that the speed boat is a 36-foot fiberglass boat, with 300-horsepower Yamaha outboard engine with standard specifications, fettered with communication kits, life jackets, and safety kits.
According to Stephen, four GID officials assigned for the boat operations have been trained on a Yamaha engine maintenance course by a certified Yamaha instructor to ensure proper use and maintenance of the speed boat.