The Kenya Coast Guard Service is a national security Service established under the Kenya Coast Guard Service Act No. 11 of 2018. The Service is responsible for enforcement of laws and regulations in Kenya’s territorial and inland waters.
KCGS is headquartered at the Fisheries Service Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Centre in Liwatoni, Mombasa. The Service is present along the coast in Shimoni, Ngomeni, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu. It also has presence in inland waters such as Lakes Victoria, Turkana and Naivasha.
The functions of KCGS are specified under Section 8 of the KCGS Act, 2018, and include: enforcement of maritime security and safety; pollution control; prevention of trafficking of the narcotic drugs prohibited plants and psychotropic substances; prevention of trafficking of illegal goods; prevention of trafficking of illegal firearms and ammunitions; enforcement of sanitation measures; securing ports, harbours, coastal and inland waters; protection of maritime resources including fisheries; and protection of archaeological or historical objects or sites.
In addition, KCGS responds to maritime emergencies such as search and rescue and marine spill response. KCGS is empowered to prosecute maritime offenders.
Kenya’s territorial waters comprise inland waters (lakes and navigable rivers), internal waters, territorial sea (i.e., up to 12 nautical miles from the shore) and contiguous zone (up to 24 nautical miles from the shore).
KCGS operates patrol vessels and patrol boats.
The governance structure of KCGS is specified in the KCGS Act. The Service is under the Ministry of Interior (MOI) with the KCGS Council, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary MOI, being responsible for the overall policy, control and supervision of the Service. The KCGS Technical Committee, chaired by the Principal Secretary for Internal Security, oversees the management and administration of the Service.
No. KCGS is established under the KCGS Act and is under the Ministry of Interior while the Kenya Navy is established part of the Kenya Defence Forces established under the Constitution of Kenya.
KCGS functions include enforcement of law in Kenya’s territorial and inland waters while Kenya Navy is responsible for defence of Kenya’s maritime domain.
The concept of establishment of KCGS is to pool the resources held within various Government agencies which have Statutory responsibility over Kenya’s maritime domain.
This domain has both non-State actors involved in various activities including exploration and exploitation of marine living and non-living resources; maritime commercial activities; defence and security; conservation and management of the marine resources; and enforcement of customs, fiscal, immigration, shipping, and sanitary laws.
KCGS aims to strengthen and enhance enforcement of laws and regulations applicable in Kenya’s territorial and inland waters, in particular, those relating to maritime safety and security; fisheries protection, pollution control; sanitation; customs; narcotic drugs; prohibited plants; psychotropic substances; illegal firearms and ammunitions; and protection of maritime resources.
Section 9 of the KCGS Act empowers KCGS to:
- among others, stop, enter, board, inspect or search any structure, place, vessel or aircraft engaged in or suspected to be engaged in any unlawful activity;
- seize or detain any vessel or aircraft engaged in or suspected to be engaged in any unlawful activity;
- demand the production of any licence, permit, record or any other relevant document and to examine such licence, permit, record or document or make copies or take extracts from such licence, permit, record or document;
- investigate any offence which it has reason to believe is being committed, is about to be committed or has been committed;
- exercise the right of hot pursuit;
- examine and seize any fish, article, device, goods, vessel, aircraft or any other item it has reason to believe is connected to the commission of an offence;
- dispose of any fish, article, device, goods, vessel, aircraft or any other item that is connected to the commission of an offence;
- arrest any person who it has reason to believe has committed an offence:
- expel any vessel or aircraft whose presence in the territorial waters is detrimental to the national interests of Kenya. or is likely to endanger order and safety in the territorial waters.
KCGS arrests and prosecutes offenders