By Allan Kai

On Monday, the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) and the Kenya Coast Guard Services (KCGS) held a dialogue meeting with journalists from Mombasa to discuss maritime security reporting.

The event, held at the Royal Court Hotel in Mombasa, featured high-ranking officials from the KCGS interacting with journalists and sharing information about the agency’s mandate.

Victor Bwire, MCK’s Media Training and Development Director, emphasized establishing a solid working relationship between the KCGS and the media. He called for constructive and problem-solving journalism, a departure from adversarial interactions.

Speaking to the media, Director General of the KCGS, EBS, OGW Bruno Shioso, highlighted the agency’s relative newness, stating that they are still organizing themselves to become fully functional.

Director General of the KCGS, EBS, OGW Bruno Shioso, speaking with the journalists at the dialogue meeting in Mombasa. Photo: Courtesy

“As the Kenya Coast Guard Services, we are still a relatively new agency within the security forces. Given our broad mandate in a new domain area, we have a robust plan to modernize our services. This includes acquiring fit-for-purpose vessels capable of enduring patrols in the open seas. Currently, we have one vessel named SGS Doria,” he said.

The Coast Guard continues to address the significant issue of illegal fishing, with the Director General emphasizing its role as an enforcement enabler in collaboration with the Kenya Fisheries Service.

“The Kenya Fisheries Service holds the primary mandate regarding fisheries, but we support enforcement efforts. We collaborate with them in our coastal and inland waters to deter violators of fisheries crimes,” he explained.

Officers from the KCGS provided insights into the agency’s mandate to the Head of Legal Affairs, Kennedy Odhiambo, and the Director of Enforcement and Emergency Response. They reiterated the agency’s operations scope, which includes safeguarding territorial waters, promoting the blue economy, conducting search and rescue operations, enforcing maritime pollution regulations, conducting patrols, and initiating capacity-building programs for fisherfolk to enhance best practices in their respective fields.

Sub Lt. Susan Matakai, Head of Search and Rescue, discussed the agency’s efforts to raise awareness among fisherfolk along the coast. She mentioned interacting with over 2,000 fisherfolk, educating them, and providing safety equipment for their sea voyages.

Sub-Lt. Susan Matakai, Head of Search and Rescue, spoke with the journalists about the role of KCGS in training and advocacy with fisher folk and other maritime stakeholders. Photo: Courtesy

“We aim to reduce shipwrecks and prevent fisherfolk from being lost or perishing at sea. To improve their experience, we have trained them to predict tides, maintain their vessels, and acquire appropriate fishing gear. Building trust with them is crucial as they are our primary sources of sea-related information,” she said.

MCK Regional Coordinator Maureen Mudi emphasized the need for journalists to maintain professionalism in their reporting, pointing to the code of conduct as a guide for ethical journalism, even as they report on matters to do with maritime security. She emphasized the importance of understanding both sides, stressing the need for upholding public interest above all.

The Kenya Coast Guard Services is a multi-agency entity comprising personnel from the Kenya Navy, Kenya Police, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Immigration Service, Kenya Fisheries Service, Kenya Ports Authority, and other local government agencies.