BY AGENCIES *
Construction of a UAE naval base in Somaliland has started with the facility expected to be completed by June 2018.
Sharjah-based engineering group Divers Marine Contracting is leading the project after being awarded the $90m contract in April, Arabian Business reported, citing company managing director Abdulla Darwish as saying.
The facility will be built near the regional port of Berbera, located on the Gulf of Aden, 260 kilometers (162 miles) south of Yemen, where UAE troops in a Saudi Arabia-led coalition are battling Houthi rebels.
The Somaliland naval base will include a 300-metre L-shaped inland berthing port with a depth of 7 metres “to support the military airport,” accommodating naval vessels to patrol the Gulf of Aden, according to Abdulla Darwish, managing director of Divers Marine Contracting.
“It’s not a commercial port. It’s only for naval vessels,” he added.
Somaliland’s foreign minister said in May that the UAE leased the airport in Berbera for 25 years as part of a pact for a military base. The gulf country is also built a military installation in Eritrea.
In September, Dubai-based port operator DP World announced that it will donate $2m to help Somaliland improve water availability and healthcare access in Berbera.
The donation will also cover refurbishments to the Berbera General Hospital and the Berbera Mental Hospital to ensure that residents have adequate access to medical facilities, according to DP World.