Director of Irish Coast Guards heads EUCAP Nestor’s Operations in Somalia

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Director of Irish Coast Guards heads EUCAP Nestor’s Operations in Somalia

In August 2016 Christopher Reynolds joined EUCAP Nestor’s team at the Mogadishu HQ as the new Head of Operations. He will lead a team of European maritime, legal and police experts to work alongside Somali colleagues from the security sector to share his expertise to build a more secure and stable Somalia.

The new Head of Operations is a man of the Sea. He is the national director of the Irish Coast Guard and started his service in 1979 when he joined the Irish Navy as an Executive Branch (Deck) Officer. During his career he served in all seagoing positions on board various Irish Naval vessels.

Although new to Somalia, Christopher is not new to crisis areas.

In 1996 he was deployed to Lebanon with the United Nations Interim Force (UNFIL). Christopher was in charge of humanitarian convoys set in place during Israeli-Hezbollah ‘Grapes of Wrath’ conflict and was awarded a citation for bravery for his actions at the time of the Qana massacre.

Since 1997 he acted as the On Scene Incident Manager for the majority of maritime accidents that occurred in the Irish Seas for the following ten years.

In 1985, on board the LE Aisling as Gunnery Officer, he was Gunnery Officer on the On Scene Commander for the response to the first terrorist bombing of a jumbo jet, the Air India disaster where members of his diving team were decorated for bravery.

EUCAP Nestor’s new Head of Operations is also a highly qualified bomb disposal expert.

In the job he temporarily left to lead EUCAP Nestor’s Operations team, Chris Reynolds dealt extensively – and among others – with reducing the loss of life on Ireland’s waters, providing assistance to persons in

 

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Director of Irish Coast Guards heads EUCAP Nestor’s Operations in Somalia

danger at sea or on the coast, as well as dealing with maritime environmental and shipping security
related activities. This massive expertise is now at the disposal of his Somali colleagues.
After only few days on Somali soil, the mission’s Head of Operations seems to have a clear plan on how
to help Somalia re-gain its resources and grow stronger.
“A States ocean is a national asset which if safe and secure will support a diverse marine economy, with
vast potential to tap into a marine market for seafood, tourism, oil and gas, marine renewable energy,
and even for new applications for health, medicine and technology”, says Christopher referring to his
ideas for the future outcome of his engagement in Somalia.
Asked about “how to get there”, he replies: “Maritime security is the key to good ocean governance
which includes the effective control of maritime borders and the prevention of trans-national crime such
as piracy, smuggling and trafficking which can de-stabilise entire regions. In the longer term the creation
of the conditions needed for Somalian economic growth, investment and job creation depends on
ensuring a safe, secure and protected maritime domain consistent with international norms of
governance”.
The mission’s new Head of Operations hopes “to assist the government authorities and agencies in
commencing the development of effective and efficient security arrangements and regimes so that
Somalia, by managing its own maritime security needs, can prosper and develop ‘blue growth.’”
It is a long way ahead, and everyone knows that. As Reynolds is aware “initial steps must be small and
success will be dependent on multiple strands aligning”.
It seems he is starting on the right foot.
Background
EUCAP Nestor is a civilian EU mission, under the auspices of the Common Security and Defence
Policy, which assists Somalia in strengthening its capacity to ensure maritime security and in
particular to fight piracy.

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