By: Dawda Baldeh
The Gambia Port Authority (GPA) has on Thursday, 28th October 2021 organized a security exercise in the form of a ‘fire breakout simulation’ in case of any security risk at the seaport.
During the security exercise, it was considered that there was a fire breakout at the port, in response the National Navy Forces rushed to the port to evacuate officials and keep them away from the risk zone. The Gambia Fire and Rescue Service also arrived at the scene at high speed to put out the fire.
Almost immediately ambulances from the Ministry of Health were deployed to evacuate casualties to health facilities. The Navy also conducted a search and discovered a bomb at the port.
According to Lieutenant Abba Nyassi everyone must go about their normal activity and not be afraid as the bomb discovered was harmless and part of the simulation exercise.
The activity conducted on Thursday morning at the ports brought together different security personnel and staff of the port. It was meant to help strengthen the security and safety of the ports as it serves as the first entry point for goods, services and people.
Recently, in line with security protocol, the Office of the National Security conducted A Critical National Infrastructural (CNI) Mapping Assessment and the port was identified as one of the key critical infrastructures in the country.
Superintendent Touray expressed hope that the knowledge and skills obtained from the exercise will be put into practice. As part of the training, The Gambia Navy conducted a bomb detective exercise at the ports to strengthen their efforts in exposing harmful weapons that may be discovered at the port.
The training is a requirement from all states that are signatory to the ISPS code, a code that provides a framework through which ships and port facilities can co-operate to detect and deter acts that pose a threat to maritime security. The conduct of training for stakeholders is expected to happen every 12 months and not more than a period of 18 months.
The Commander of the Gambia Navy, Fara Jobe said this year’s security exercise shows that their performance has been improved compared to last year. He said the role of the navy is combating threats at the port. He also called for the improvement of the equipment that is needed to make their work effective.
He used the opportunity to call for collaboration in responding to emergency drills and exercises noting that the government alone cannot eradicate threats and criminal activities.