The Government of Japan, on Wednesday, pledged a grant of USD 3.7 million to collaborate with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in order to strengthen the capacity of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC).
The grant agreement was signed by Japanese Ambassador to Maldives Keiko Yanai and UNODC Crime Prevention and Crime Justice Officer Masamoto Yamaguchi during a special ceremony held in Vilimale'.
Intended to enhance the operation of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Coast Guard's MRCC, the grant will finance a three year project that will be divided into two components.
During the initial phase in the first year, a new four-storey MRCC building including training facilities and a library, will be constructed and furnished.
Under the second phase in the second and third years, UNODC will design and conduct tailored Search and Rescue and Maritime Law Enforcement training programs to the Coast Guard as well as other law enforcement agencies.
In November 2020, the Japanese government committed a grant of USD 7.6 million to strengthen the operational capacity of the Coast Guard by financing the procurement of communication equipment as well as Search and Rescue professional dive gear for MRCC, in addition to providing specialised training on the operation and maintenance of dive equipment.
According to the Embassy of Japan, the recent commitment via UNODC will further increase the capabilities of the Coast Guard to ensure maritime security in the Indian Ocean, contributing to a 'Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)'.