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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Georgia Monitoring Project: Maritime Security Special Thematic Report


Report
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
April 1, 2012

   
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

II. INTRODUCTION

III. U.S. FOREIGN POLICY INTEREST

IV. COUNTRY CONTEXT

V. U.S. BORDER SECURITY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSISTANCE

VI. MONITORING METHODOLOGY

VII. FINDINGS

A. Personnel Capacity Building

B. Fleet Refurbishment and Maintenance

C. Equipment

D. Integrated Coastal Surveillance Network

E. Vessel Maintenance and Supply Tracking System

VIII. DELAYS IN IMPLEMENTATION

IX. CONCLUSIONS

X. POST SCRIPT – MARCH 20-21, 2012


ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS

AIS

Automatic Identification System

AOR

Area of Responsibility

ARDF

Automatic Radio Direction Finding

C3

Command, Control, and Communications

CP

Command Posts

DOS

United States Department of State

EUR/ACE

Office of the Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia

EXBS

U.S. Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security

GBSLE

Georgia Border Security and Law Enforcement

GCG

Georgian Coast Guard

GMP

Georgia Monitoring Project

GOG

Government of Georgia

GTEP

Georgia Train and Equip

HF

High Frequency

IBTCI

International Business & Technical Consultants, Inc.

IMO

United Nations International Maritime Organization

INL

U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement

ISAF

International Security Assistance Force

JNA

Joint Needs Assessment

MAP

Maritime Assistance Plan

MLE

Maritime Law Enforcement

MOD

Ministry of Defense

MoIA

Ministry of Internal Affairs

NSOI

Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative

TOT

“Train the Trainer”

UPS

Universal Power Supply

USCG

US Coast Guard

USG

United States Government

WMD

Weapons of Mass Destruction


DISCLAIMER

The author’s views expressed in the publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of State or the United States Government. 


I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The August 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia resulted in the destruction or loss of nearly $30 million in United States Government (USG) donated materials and equipment. Following the Joint Needs Assessment (JNA) in Brussels, the USG provided Georgia with $11.023 million in assistance to develop a competent and sustainable Maritime Security force. All projects stemming from this assistance were led by the U.S. Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Georgia Border Security and Law Enforcement (GBSLE), and provided to the Georgian Coast Guard (GCG) Department of the Border Police. A “Maritime Assistance Plan” (MAP) was created which called for a consolidated, integrated network of support, and provided the foundation for three phases of GCG improvement: organizational planning, infrastructure and personnel.

Two reviews were conducted by the Georgia Monitoring Project (GMP) team to determine the extent to which the USG maritime enforcement assistance was meeting the goals and objectives outlined in the MAP. A monitoring methodology was applied using data collected through document review, interviews, and project input/output data. This information was triangulated using a three-phased methodological approach: 1) desk review of documents and drafting of interview and observations questions; 2) interviews with members of the GCG conducted through site visits to the main GCG operational bases in Poti and Batumi; and, 3) analysis and summary of notes taken from the document review and site visits. Findings were drafted based on the methods used to verify project inputs and outputs, and then provided to U.S. Embassy personnel for review.

Key Findings

Personnel Capacity Building: GCG personnel capacity has been greatly enhanced through a number of training activities. The utilization of “Train the Trainer” (TOT) programs have improved law enforcement knowledge and skills among GCG staff. These training programs have proven to be increasingly sustainable, as courses led by Georgian instructors have grown from 31 percent in 2008 to 72 percent in 2010, with approximately 60 percent of required GCG staff having participated in this training. Additional training was provided to port engineers in the form of long-term, specialized training in engineering schools in the United States and in Georgia, and short-term mentoring on maintenance management and vessel repair skills led by experienced US Coast Guard (USCG) engineers. These programs have improved recognition among GCG staff of the importance of vessel preventative maintenance, and have led to the development of long-term maintenance plans and the management of multiple GCG-funded vessel refurbishment projects.

The USCG provided hull maintenance and repair and welding training to six GCG personnel in 2010, three of whom received subsequent training to be instructors through the “TOT” approach. This USCG training has led to the completion of refurbishment work on two patrol vessels (with a third to be completed shortly), and eliminated the need for any additional training on welding. Furthermore, USG assistance was instrumental in the development of a basic radar operations training program implemented using a TOT model, as well as the construction of two English language training labs, one each in Poti and Batumi, where both intensive and non-intensive English language instruction was provided to GCG personnel by USG-trained staff.

Fleet Refurbishment and Maintenance: Through USG assistance, a dramatic shift has taken place within the GCG towards a policy which prioritizes vessel maintenance. Under this new policy, the GCG has completed the successful renovation of two patrol vessels, with the scheduled complete modernization of a third vessel due in May 2012, and improved crew rotation and assigned maintenance practices in order to reduce mechanical failures. Furthermore, the implementation of an engine standardization initiative is underway and will simplify the vessel repair process and streamline training programs. Conservative estimates state that these efforts will ensure vessel operability for at least another decade.

Equipment: USG assistance provided to the GCG included $3 million in tooling and industrial machinery for outfitting a new vessel repair and maintenance facility (expected completion end of 2012), which will greatly enhance the GCG’s prospects for sustainability by increasing capacity and efficiency, as well as significantly reducing maintenance and repair costs. Additionally, equipment has been provided to the two GCG law enforcement teams responsible for boarding, inspection, detection and security of vessels in Georgian waters, which significantly enhances GCG’s capacity to carry out its regular patrol functions and protect Georgia’s coastline.

Integrated Coastal Surveillance Network: A newly integrated coastal surveillance system was created which includes a new Poti Radar Station, high quality Universal Power Supply (UPS) systems, and back-up radar systems and power sources. Integration of this system through EXBS has led to a consolidated and linked network with the capabilities to create a total coastal radar picture and transfer encrypted data. This has significantly impacted coastal security by allowing the GCG to collect enforcement data on more than 1,000 vessels, board approximately 200 vessels, and identify and prosecute 253 cases involving violations of Georgia’s maritime border.

Vessel Maintenance and Supply Tracking System: GCG Command Posts (CP) have implemented and currently maintain a tracking system which indicates the readiness status of every GCG patrol vessel operating in its area of responsibility including number of assigned crew, fuel supply, maintenance status and quantity of provisions aboard. Implementation of this system has enabled the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA) inspection unit to eliminate corrupt practices through prosecution of criminal activities, improve business practices, and monitor the status and needs of vessels.

Based on the data collected during this monitoring activity, the GMP team believes that USG assistance provided to the Georgian maritime security sector since August 2008 has contributed greatly to the competent management, training, operation, and maintenance of the GCG. One of the most impressive results from this assistance is the development of a shared commitment from the GCG, illustrated by their pledge to independently match USG assistance for each project initiated. Further contributing to the sustainability of Georgia’s maritime security sector is the integration of the various activities which were carried out in order to build and sustain a competent and comprehensive system. These improvements will arm GCG leaders with the information and trained personnel necessary to make critical decisions and plan for long-term sustainability of the fleet and operations. The clear results of USG assistance is that the GCG has increased its capabilities to prevent, deter, and detect smuggling of contraband and trafficking in persons and illicit weapons, the illegal migration of aliens, and to address terrorism threats. The USG contributions to training, technical assistance, infrastructure and maintenance have been and are being used wisely. USG and Government of Georgia (GOG)-funded maritime projects that are still to be completed have a very solid and sustainable foundation upon which to build.

II. INTRODUCTION

After the conflict in August 2008 between Georgia and Russia, the Brussels pledge was announced by the international community on October 9, 2008, at the donor-coordinated Joint Needs Assessment in Brussels. The Brussels conference was chaired jointly by the European Commission and the World Bank and was devoted to addressing Georgia’s needs for post-conflict recovery and reconstruction. At the conference, donor pledges for the public sector totaled $3.7 billion. An additional $800 million was pledged to support the private sector.

The largest bilateral pledge of $1 billion was made by the United States Government of which $44.577 million was allocated for the Peace and Security Sector.[1] Of this amount, $11.023 million was allocated to border security. Maritime security was provided by two USG programs: U.S. Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Georgia Border Security and Law Enforcement (GBSLE). EXBS was allocated $9.6 million, of which $6.3 million was from the $1 billion for the implementation of 28 projects, and GBSLE was allocated $1.4 million for the implementation of five projects.[2] All projects benefited the Georgian Coast Guard Department of the Border Police.

In July 2009, the first U.S. Coast Guard EXBS program Maritime Advisor was appointed to work with the GCG. The Advisor worked jointly with the GCG to develop a “Maritime Assistance Plan” (MAP), which identified the following assistance objectives:

  • Competency development;
  • Capability building; and,
  • Exit strategy for sustainability.

The MAP, in conjunction with the GBSLE program, called for a consolidated, integrated network of support, and provided the foundation for three phases of GCG improvement: organizational planning; infrastructure; and personnel. The focus of the MAP was to identify and address sustainability gaps which were beyond the fiscal abilities of the GCG and still within the scope and ability of USG assistance, while also identifying areas where the GCG could simultaneously focus reform efforts within their current budget constraints. The thinking was that in approximately 3-4 years, the joint USG-GCG sustainability efforts would build the GCG up to a level where it could be sustained within current or projected budget levels. Essentially, with a strong fleet of vessels, good maintenance facilities, trained personnel, solid command/control/communications functions, and trained, responsible leadership, all the components for long-term sustainability would be in place. [3]

The Georgia Monitoring Project is a two-year project (May 2010 to May 2012) funded by the United States Department of State (DOS), implemented by International Business & Technical Consultants, Inc. (IBTCI), and managed by the Office of the Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia (EUR/ACE). The purpose of this project is to monitor the results of the USG foreign assistance provided to the GOG from the $1 billion Brussels pledge to ensure the funds are directed toward the foreign policy and foreign assistance objectives for which they were intended. EUR/ACE defines monitoring as the determination of the progress being made to meet a program’s defined objectives. Illustrative monitoring questions include: Are USG implementers on track to achieve their intended program outcomes? Are they making progress toward meeting their objectives? Are equipment and supplies provided by the USG being used effectively? How effective is the practice of using resident and/or other advisors to provide technical assistance (i.e. in the security and financial management sector)? What has been the effect of training events on the knowledge, attitudes, and/or practices of participants? How well are USG implementers coordinating their assistance with other stakeholders and to what effect?

In February 2011, the GMP conducted a preliminary review to determine the extent to which the USG maritime security assistance was meeting its goals and objectives.[4] A subsequent review was conducted in February 2012. This report provides descriptions of all the work undertaken under the Brussels pledge as well as the outcomes and impacts achieved thus far.
 

III. U.S. FOREIGN POLICY INTEREST

Despite its challenges, Georgia’s progress toward a prosperous, stable and democratic state not only fulfills an important U.S. strategic objective, but Georgia also actively works with the United States to tackle other key U.S. priorities, including counterterrorism and nuclear non-proliferation. It is the largest per-capita troop contributor to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and its forces deploy without caveats for the full spectrum of operations. It is one of United States’ most reliable supporters in the United Nations. Georgia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions remains important to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, both because its full integration will enable it to make even more substantial global contributions and because the process of integration will encourage Georgia to stay on the path of reform. A sovereign, democratic Georgia securely anchored in the Euro-Atlantic space will continue to be a strong partner and a model for democratic change and reform for the region. It is an essential link in both the east-west energy corridor, reinforcing energy security, and the logistics network to support, sustain and ultimately draw down U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Related to Maritime and Border Security, Georgia is a critical partner with the United States and the greater international community in preventing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in the Black Sea region. Given its history, geopolitical location, and legacy of Soviet-era orphaned radiological sources, smugglers have sought to exploit weak border controls to facilitate transportation of illicit radiological materials into and out of the region. The United States also has a commitment to helping Georgia continue to improve its maritime security for future development efforts related to trade and tourism.

IV. COUNTRY CONTEXT
 

Date: 2010 Description: Map of Georgia. © CIA World Factbook.

While Georgia is a small country of 4.5 million people, its location in the Caucuses and on the Black Sea makes it a major transit route for legal and illegal trade to and from the region. Many of Georgia’s main trading partners such as Turkey share a coast along the Black Sea, which makes the use of maritime vessels a convenient means to conduct regional trade. In 2011, Georgia traded with 147 countries worth $9.2 billion, with $2.2 billion coming in the form of exports. Despite this gap between imports and exports, Georgia is rated by The World Bank as one of the world's fastest-reforming economies, ranked in 2010 as the world's 11th-easiest place to do business, and is showing dramatic improvement in the struggle against corruption. Georgia’s major exports include scrap metals, used cars, wine, ores, fruits and nuts, and its imports consist largely of fuels, machinery and parts, grain and pharmaceuticals.[5] The Georgian sea port of Poti serves as a conduit for the majority of this trade (approximately 70%) while Batumi, located approximately 70 kilometers south of Poti, also plays a major economic role with revenues of over $30 million in 2011, an 18.3 percent increase from 2010.[6]

In addition to trade, Georgia’s coast serves as a key driver of tourism. Tourism in Georgia represented five percent of overall GDP in 2011, and this industry is expected to play an increasingly important role in the economy in the next few years.[7] The protection of the growing trade and tourism industry along Georgia’s coast is vital to the health of the overall economy.

Smuggling has long been a concern in Georgia and Georgia’s seaports; the largely unregulated ports and waterways within the occupied territory of Abkhazia remain particularly vulnerable to illicit trafficking. Experts note that as the country coped with corruption in its early days of independence and sought to transition into a modern, democratic Western ally, smuggling thrived due to generally poor public education, pervasive poverty, uncontrolled separatist movements, and underdeveloped border security regimes with neighboring countries. GCG officials confirmed to the February 2012 monitoring team that smuggling – particularly maritime smuggling – is pervasive due to the uncontrolled Abkhazian territories and organized crime in Russia and Eastern Turkey. Georgia is working to address many of these concerns, particularly corruption in its public sector, but many of the challenges and financial incentives for smuggling remain. [8]

The vast majority of commodities transiting the South Caucasus region pass through Georgia’s seaports, and recent efforts by the GOG to develop free trade zones, tourism and other economic incentives have generated increased vessel traffic and trade along Georgia’s coastline. Georgian ports have also experienced a steady increase in traffic associated with the NATO/U.S. supply routes to ISAF in Afghanistan. Most importantly, Georgia has been the site or transit point for illicit radiological seizures, including a late 2010 attempt to sell weapons-grade uranium in Tbilisi. This threat, combined with the strategic vulnerability of Georgia’s ports, highlights the importance of robust, sustainable maritime security and proliferation prevention capabilities. [9]

Threats to ships, shipping and maritime personnel, illegal activities by criminals such as illegal fishing and marine pollution, as well as the risk of terrorism through the attempted sales of illegal materials[10] have developed as the result of a security vacuum in the Black Sea.[11] Georgia’s coastline is vulnerable and its protection through maritime security is critical to the country’s security and sovereignty. 
 

V. U.S. BORDER SECURITY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSISTANCE

In the 1990s, the GBSLE program was the primary USG vehicle for providing assistance to the GCG. It purchased or refurbished four patrol vessels, built and equipped four coastal radar stations and funded numerous training programs. The greater USG effort to develop sustainable maritime security and enforcement capabilities in Georgia experienced a major setback as a result of the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict.

The conflict resulted in the destruction or loss of nearly $30 million in USG-donated materials and equipment including four vessels, two coastal radar stations, a main operational command center and several administration buildings. Additionally, the GCG lost nearly $600,000 in critical communications equipment, almost all of which were donated through USG assistance. 

Date: 08/2008 Description: Poti Command Post Damaged and Two Georgian Coast Guard Vessels Sunk during Conflict with Russia, August 2008. - State Dept Image

In early 2009, the EXBS program combined forces with GBSLE to support GCG post-conflict reconstruction work and ensure continuity of assistance efforts, particularly after the closeout of GBSLE program in September 2011. Prior to GBSLE’s closeout, EXBS accepted a transfer of nearly $1 million of GBSLE program funds to complete a critical patrol vessel modernization. EXBS and another DOS program, the Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative (NSOI), contributed a combined total of $1.7 million to complete an enhanced GCG coastal surveillance and secure communication initiative started by the GBSLE program. EXBS is also constructing and outfitting a new ship repair facility, refurbishing three primary patrol vessels, constructing an interagency maritime targeting and information fusion center, and funding various training events focused on operations and maintenance.[12]

VI. MONITORING METHODOLOGY

The data used to support the findings in this report were three-fold, and included documents, interview data, and project input/output data. These data were triangulated using the following three-phased methodology. The first was a desk review of documents containing detailed descriptions of projects conducted since 2008 with USG funding. These included official reports prepared by Embassy personnel such as monthly newsletters and reporting cables, and the MAP. Also included in the review were reports provided from outside sources such as the English language training annual report, enforcement action statistics provided by the GCG, and lists of facilities and vessels refurbished and equipment donated. While reading these materials, the monitoring team asked many clarifying questions of the EXBS Maritime Advisor to ensure adequate understanding of the goals and objectives of USG assistance to the GCG, the work involved in each project, the timeframe of each project (which projects were completed and which ones were still in process), and how each of the projects fit together to help build and sustain a highly capable GCG. Next, the monitoring team drafted interview and observation questions for each focus area (training, maintenance, coastal surveillance, etc.). These were shared with the EXBS Maritime Advisor in advance to ensure that all aspects of each focus area would be addressed during the site visits.

The second phase involved site visits to the main GCG operational bases in Poti and Batumi to interview members of the GCG including policy makers and leaders, second tier managers, and members of the rank and file staff. Observations/documentation of the inputs and outputs of all the projects were conducted, as well as demonstrations of the integrated coastal surveillance capabilities and use, tracking systems’ database, daily command centers’ operations, and vessel repair, refurbishment and technical maintenance. The monitoring team interviewed approximately 25 members of the GCG during the site visits. Notes taken during the interviews and from observations/demonstrations were compared among those present, and where there were discrepancies in findings, clarification and/or additional information was obtained from the respondents.

During the third phase, the monitoring team summarized all the notes taken from the document review and site visits. Findings were drafted based on the methods used to verify projects’ inputs and outputs, and wherever possible, the larger impacts of USG assistance. These draft findings were provided to U.S. Embassy personnel, including the Georgia Assistance Coordination Committee for review. The purpose of this review was to help GMP staff identify any factual inaccuracies and/or provide recommendations for areas where the report could be strengthened. With the needed revisions completed, the report was put into final form.

This monitoring effort was challenged by two limitations. The first was the absence of rigorous survey data and analysis using statistical methodologies. A second challenge was that the monitoring team had a condensed period of time (three days) to complete scheduled interviews and site visits. Explanations of these two limitations derive from the conscious decision to allow at least a year to pass from the time of the interim assessment (February 2011) to this one (February 2012) to be able the gather new data on a full twelve months of assistance activities. Also, time was limited to conduct this monitoring activity because the GMP contract is scheduled to end in early May 2012 and only two months remain for IBTCI to complete this and other monitoring reports. Thus, time did not permit the development of standardized questionnaires, survey instruments or a lengthy data collection process. However, the monitoring team felt these limitations were mostly overcome by extensive, cleared/unclassified program reports and related material provided from various sources to IBTCI in advance of and during the site visits themselves, including the annual data provided by the GCG on law enforcement actions taken from 2008-2011. Additionally, tangible project outcomes and immediate impacts were observed and/or identified quickly and easily during the site visits.

VII. FINDINGS
 

A. Personnel Capacity Building

Amendments to the Georgian “Defense of Georgia” law on December 19, 2008[13] led to organizational changes, which greatly increased the need for training and technical assistance. The major change was the merger of the Navy of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) into the Coast Guard,[14] a part of the Border Police located within the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA). The merger formed a united maritime force titled the Coast Guard Department of the Border Police of Georgia, generally called the Georgian Coast Guard. Three offices were formed within the Coast Guard Main Office: (1) Policy; (2) Operations; and, (3) Resources (for the procurement of goods and equipment). These organizational changes were based on recommendations by U.S. Coast Guard experts. Six hundred (600) of the 750[15] combined personnel were Navy, thus requiring specific skills related to Coast Guard duties and functions.[16] In addition, many GCG leadership positions were replaced with former Navy leadership and, therefore, very few GCG personnel were left in key leadership positions. USG assistance, in collaboration with the GCG, identified training needs in law enforcement, port engineer skills development, electronics maintenance, engine maintenance, hull repair, officer development, technical apprenticeships, resident in-country training, international (U.S.) professional exchanges, and English language training.

Next, the USCG and GCG personnel worked together to develop a training and qualification system in Georgia. Due to the substantial number requiring training, a joint decision by EXBS and GCG determined that it was more effective to offer “Train the Trainer” programs for several critical skill sets; a program in which a limited number are trained and then become responsible for training others. Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE) was one of the key specialty skill sets identified for a TOT approach. Since 2011, with the exception of some additional technical assistance for Port Engineers, all training programs have been completed or are being conducted by the GCG. The GCG realizes that it needs to institute more formalized training programs and continues to work with the Ministry of Internal Affairs Police Academy and GCG senior leadership to develop ideas for curriculum development and training locations. 

Specific findings on training are as follows:

1. Training on GCG Missions and Related Laws and Regulations

Date: 2012 Description: USCG train and certify six GCG Maritime Law Enforcement instructors. - State Dept Image

The first training priority was to concentrate the acquisition of law enforcement knowledge and skills that met international standards, primarily working with former Navy leadership and other former Navy personnel, who were not familiar with coordinating and conducting law enforcement missions. This training was developed in coordination with the MoIA Police Academy and experienced GCG personnel, and involved training on GCG missions and related laws and regulations.

 In 2008, six GCG instructors completed maritime law enforcement training under the TOT program and became certified instructors. Eighteen GCG personnel received training through the assistance of USCG programs and eight GCG were trained by Georgian instructors from the Coast Guard and MoIA Police Academy. In 2009, 45 GCG received training by USCG and 85 GCG were trained by Georgian instructors. In 2010, 58 GCG were trained by non-Georgian instructors and 149 were trained by Georgian instructors. Therefore, training by USCG instructors was reduced from 69 percent in 2008 to 28 percent in 2010, indicating an increase in staff trained by Georgian instructors from 31 percent in 2008 to 72 percent in 2010. By December 2011, 60 percent of the required 600 GCG had been trained; with a few exceptions all training in 2011 was conducted by the GCG.[17] Based on these data, skills development and training by GCG represents a self-sustaining trend.

The GCG also takes special pride in its search and rescue capabilities, with 30 people having been rescued in the past two years. In addition, the GCG formulated specific rules and regulations for operating jet skis and started robust enforcement activities in efforts to stem reckless behavior at popular beach areas which posed a threat to public safety. These efforts led to a significant reduction of incidents involving the reckless use of jet skis, with no accidents or deaths being recorded last summer, even though it was the busiest tourism season recorded for the region to date. The accomplishments in search and rescue capabilities and improved regulation of jet skis are significant not only in terms of increased capability to protect and defend the coastline, but also the resulting confidence among the GCG and Georgian people. 

2. Port Engineer Training

Date: 2012 Description: LCDR Curren teaches newly assigned GCG Port Engineer how to measure hull thickness. - State Dept Image

 With Brussels pledge funding assistance, EXBS assisted the GCG in revising its organizational structure and preparing a maintenance management plan, which includes maintenance tracking as well as budget and procurement planning processes. The result was the introduction of port engineer and other maintenance management positions. Port engineers are critical to effective operation of a maintenance management system as this position has numerous responsibilities including: monitoring the operational capacity of the vessels; identifying the general conditions of the vessels; developing short- and long-term maintenance plans for each vessel; identifying spare parts needed and their procurement; supervising and monitoring renovations and maintenance work; and determining the needs of the technical maintenance staff. The port engineers also serve as interlocutors between the Captains and crew, relieving pressure from both parties, and holding them accountable for implementing and documenting preventative maintenance.

When the USCG EXBS program Maritime Advisor arrived in July 2009, he learned that the vessel Captains were under tremendous pressure to ensure that vessels remained operational with little or no maintenance support. Apparently, it was a common trend to run the GCG vessels hard with little or no preventative maintenance or maintenance support, with mechanical failures occurring often. The vessels would then be left to sit idle until a foreign donor (e.g. USG) offered to undertake the repairs. The evolution of this practice was the result of a handful of factors including lack of a discretionary budget for vessel maintenance, existence of extremely lengthy and restrictive procurement systems, as well as varying degrees of corruption. Exacerbating this “run it until it breaks” mentality, former GCG leadership tended to blame the vessel Captains and crew for the resulting mechanical failures. As a result, many Captains resorted to purchasing needed parts and equipment with their own money in order to avoid being blamed for mechanical failures or not meeting patrol schedules.[18]

One of the first tasks of the USCG Advisor and short-term USCG support was to reverse this trend by helping the new GCG leadership recognize the importance of preventative maintenance, which included obtaining a robust maintenance budget, strengthening procurement systems, and developing a transparent maintenance management system which would include the positions of port engineers (modeled after the USCG model).

Funds were made available for potential port engineers to undertake long-term training in specialized engineering schools in the United States and in Georgia. In addition, experienced USCG engineers were provided for short-term duty to mentor and provide practical on-the-job maintenance management and vessel repair skills to port engineers. This iterative training - seven days a week for a short intensive period - was designed to ensure preventative maintenance and the early identification of major problems to mitigate major future repair costs or complete breakdowns of vessels and equipment. As of February 2012, four officers have completed the training program and since been promoted to newly established port engineer positions. In the second phase of training, officers will complete trainings in the United States in April 2012.

According to an interview with the head of the GCG Resources Department, the GCG has embraced the overall maintenance concept, and port engineers are developing long-term maintenance plans and managing multiple GCG-funded vessel refurbishment projects. This process will be expanded and solidified further once the new repair facility is built and additional training is completed. The impact of the establishment of the port engineer position and change in mindset regarding prioritization of vessel preventative maintenance is extremely important to the sustainability of the GCG. Affirmation of this positive change was observed during the GMP site visit, where the monitoring team was able to board a vessel and take note of the stellar conditions in which the vessels were being kept, conduct an interview with a Poti port engineer, and observe the use of the maintenance tracking system.

3. Training on Vessel Refurbishment and Maintenance

The USCG provided hull maintenance and repair and welding training to six GCG personnel in 2010, three of whom also possessed many years of practical welding experience and were therefore trained to serve as TOT instructors. This training was complemented by ongoing USG-funded vessel hull refurbishment and welding work on GCG vessels which allowed trainees to “shadow” USCG experts, emphasizing practical learning to ensure that the next time these particular boats needed to be refurbished, the GCG could carry out the work independently. It should also be noted that new welding machines were purchased and delivered to Georgia in time for this training which ensured that the GCG welders received comprehensive training and were capable of using the new welding machines. This training has proven to be effective, as recent refurbishment work was completed independently by GCG staff for two patrol vessels, and additional welding training no longer being required due to successful implementation of the TOT approach.[19]

4. Training of Radar Operators

In concert with supporting the upgrade of all five radar systems, USG assistance was instrumental in training the radar operators. When the first radar system was installed at the newest station in Gonio, the EXBS Maritime Advisor worked with the GCG to develop a basic radar operations training program. Utilizing a TOT model, the GCG developed a program to train the radar operators at each of the four remaining radar stations in advance of the installation of new radars. Of 55 radar personnel, 45 have received training and are currently utilizing the knowledge gained during the courses to perform their jobs. Coastal surveillance system operator training is planned for this year and will include training on how to collect and effectively process the information made available by the system.

5. English Language Training

Date: 2012 Description: USG supported English Language Classroom and Lab at the Poti Command Post. - State Dept Image

USG assistance funded the construction of and staffing for two English language training labs, one each in Poti and Batumi. English is the common maritime language and its use allows for the sharing of critical information and cooperation needed to detect threats to mutual security and safety interests, not only in and around the Black Sea, but globally. In addition to enabling effective communication with their international maritime community counterparts, a command of the English language enables GCG personnel to read and understand a multitude of technical manuals, qualify for international training programs, participate in international conferences and exercises, as well as develop greater partnerships with other maritime security forces in the region.

According to a recent report on the program entitled: “American Language Course”, USG assistance from 2010 to 2011 provided one year of intensive English language instruction to 19 GCG key personnel from Poti and Batumi. Initially, the English language program experienced various difficulties resulting in poor performance amongst students. Common problems included: students’ work responsibilities oftentimes conflicted with scheduled English training; attendance policies were not strictly enforced; and the selection of candidates was predominantly based on personal connections rather than competency and/or interest of prospective students. In several instances, students were unable to pass the English language competency exams prior to their training dates.

Upon discovery of these problems, the USG/Maritime Advisor engaged with GCG leadership to institute several positive changes. This resulted in students being freed from their daily work to attend these classes every day, as well as the opportunity to receive additional help and practice time in the language labs on weekends. While only three of the 19 reached a fully proficient score of 80 on the final test, all others scored in the 70s and 60s, which represents significant gains from the scores on their entry exams. Non-intensive instruction was also provided from 2010 to 2011 to eight GCG personnel for about seven to ten hours per week for one year. They too could obtain extra help and practice time in the language labs on the weekends. Of these eights students, seven scored 80 or above on their final test, and one scored 71. In July and August 2011, 88 GCG personnel indicated a desire to enroll in the American Language Course and took the entry exam. At the time of this report, 25 of these GCG personnel were enrolled in the non-intensive instruction. One key limitation that was in the English Language Training program was the lack of language lab facilities and materials which limit the number of GCG personnel that can take English instruction simultaneously.

While the monitoring team was able to conduct interviews in English with staff in key leadership positions, including the port engineer and Batumi Command Post Chief, it was not able to determine the impact of how English is being used in the performance of regular GCG duties. This project could benefit from a more complete monitoring and evaluation effort.

B. Fleet Refurbishment and Maintenance

Date: 2012 Description: Modernization of GRIF to be completed in May 2012. - State Dept Image Since the 2008 conflict with Russia, USG assistance has supported the renovation of two patrol vessels and the complete modernization of a third vessel which will be finished in May 2012. This work involved extensive hull replacement and preservation work, a rebuild of engines and generators, and numerous other checks, seal replacements, and reconditioning work. The work was carried out seven days a week and accomplished under the supervision of the EXBS Maritime Advisor, multiple temporarily assigned USCG marine engineers, and GCG port engineers. The third vessel to be complete in May 2012 is a “GRIF”, which is of Soviet design and locally produced, and built to be over-used and under-maintained. While the original shipyard went out of business, EXBS’s modernization project awarded the contract to another Georgian company that employed over 100 skilled people from the old shipyard who had been put out of work. The size and design of the GRIF (when modernized) is ideal for GCG missions as it can easily launch a small boat with a boarding team, and is fuel efficient and requires less maintenance. Modernization has also made the GRIF safer to operate and more effective with radar, navigation, and communication upgrades. Plus, it is much more cost effective to modernize the three GCG GRIFs than to buy new patrol boats.

Date: 2012 Description: Modernization and refurbishment work in process on P-102; Modernization and refurbishment work completed on P-102. - State Dept Image

There have been significant improvements to crew rotation and maintenance. In the past, multiple crews had been assigned to a single patrol vessel which contributed to a lack of accountability and ownership of vessels. As a result, vessels were not being kept clean and were plagued with frequent mechanical failures. To address this problem, the EXBS Maritime Advisor convinced GCG leadership to reduce the number of crews per vessel to one and require these crew members to participate in all repair and/or refurbishment work. It was discovered that single crews resulted in much greater accountability and ownership, as crew members who participated in refurbishment works contributed their own “sweat equity” which established a strong sense of pride to the vessels. Since this change, the number of mechanical failures among vessels has declined drastically.

By enabling GCG crewmembers and maintenance personnel to observe and participate in the rebuild process, the GCG is now familiar with and able to perform similar projects on these and other patrol boats, which has made preventative maintenance and sustainability of their vessels much more possible. Since completion of these refurbishment projects, the GCG has launched three vessel refurbishment projects of their own, the first of which was completed earlier this year. The monitoring team completed tours of all recently refurbished patrol vessels including the one completed by the GCG (P-105) and was very impressed with the vessels’ condition and appearance. The team also observed ongoing vessel refurbishment work occurring in Batumi and Poti and went on a brief at-sea patrol aboard the recently refurbished, former USCG “Point Class” patrol vessel (P-102). As a result of USG assistance, it is expected that the recently refurbished vessels will operate for at least another decade or more with the continuation of proper preventative care and maintenance.[20]

Date: 2012 Description: P-105 being refurbished by all Georgian crew. - State Dept Image

The GCG has demonstrated a monumental shift toward prioritizing maintenance, a key element of sustainability. A significant indicator of this commitment can be found upon examining the annual maintenance budgets: while the GCG’s 2009 maintenance and capital improvement budget was roughly $20,000, the arrival of the EXBS Maritime Advisor has led to significant increases in 2010 and 2011 totaling $1 million or more in each of these years. Furthermore, the requested 2012 maintenance and capital expenditure budget, which includes a significant sum to overhaul several patrol vessels, is expected to exceed $3 million.

The GCG has also announced a long-term plan to standardize all primary patrol vessel engines to newer CATERPILLAR models, which will make engine maintenance and repair more efficient and maintainable. The decision to implement a multi-year, phased-approach to engine standardization was a joint GCG-EXBS Maritime Advisor initiative, driven by years of struggle on the part of the GCG to maintain a mix of legacy engines from multiple countries. Obtaining spare parts for these legacy Turkish, German, Russian and Greek engines has become next to impossible with many of the legacy engines just a single part failure away from becoming completely inoperable. Standardizing engine types for the GCG’s primary patrol vessels not only ensures easier access to interchangeable parts and supplies, but also easier cross training of engine maintenance personnel. Previous maintenance training programs had to incorporate training on as many as five or more different engine types and models. Having a single engine type can streamline training programs, enabling all GCG maintenance personnel to become interchangeable specialists for all patrol boats.

In addition, with CATERPILLAR offices in Georgia and nearby Turkey, technical assistance and spare engine parts are easily accessible. The GCG is already in the process of negotiating technical assistance and parts supply contracts with local suppliers. EXBS, in coordination with other USG assistance partners, is also looking into future, CATERPILLAR-specific maintenance training programs. As CATERPILLAR is a U.S. company, it is much easier for USG agencies to work with CATERPILLAR to provide support for GCG initiatives while also having the ancillary benefit of expanding CATERPILLAR’s market abroad. 

Date: 2012 Description: New CATERPILLAR engine is installed in refurbished vessel. - State Dept Image

Prospects for the engine standardization initiative appear to be very good. Successful implementation of this initiative essentially ensures sustainability of a 15+ year fleet of vessels. Also, GCG leadership has already committed significant funds and planning efforts toward achieving the goal of sustainability. One of the GCG’s active efforts includes the sale of one of its modern, Turkish-built fast boats. A single year’s operation (i.e. expended fuel, oil, maintenance) and capital depreciation costs exceed $1 million, which is enough to refit/modernize one or more legacy GCG patrol vessel with CATERPILLAR engines. The fast boat is currently for sale and the Government of Georgia has agreed that in exchange for the proceeds of the government sale, it will increase the GCG’s capital improvement budget by $1 million or more over the next several years. The increase in annual funding will go directly toward fleet modernization. The loss of the fast boat is viewed by GCG leadership as removal of a significant liability rather than a reduction in capability. The most attractive feature of this plan is that it will cost the GCG nothing to complete a modernization of its entire primary fleet of vessels.

C. Equipment

Date: 2012 Description: Current Repair and Maintenance Facility. New facility to be completed by end of 2012. - State Dept Image Recent USG assistance provided to the GCG included $3 million in tooling and industrial machinery for outfitting a new vessel repair and maintenance facility, which is slated for completion by the end of 2012.[21] The existing vessel repair facility is a legacy, WWII-era facility that continues to operate despite a leaking roof, half-century old equipment, crumbling walls and floors, no heating or temperature control systems and poor electrical infrastructure. In fact, the GCG must be commended for being able to complete even basic repairs and maintenance under such difficult conditions. When the vessel repair facility is completed, the new tools and machinery will enable the GCG to perform comprehensive maintenance on its fleet of vessels, to include everything from complete engine rebuilds to making their own spare parts. This will greatly enhance the GCG’s prospects for sustainability through increased capacity and efficiency, as well as significant reductions in maintenance and repair costs.[22]

Equipment has also been provided to the two GCG law enforcement teams that are responsible for boarding, inspection, detection and security of vessels in Georgian waters. This equipment includes personal radiation detection pagers and inspection kits. These kits contain a fiber optic scope for inspecting fuel tanks, looking behind walls and into fuel tanks and other confined spaces. Also included in the inspection kits are density analyzers, which are used to help identify contraband hidden inside compartments such as fuel tanks. The donation of these kits was complemented by vessel search training performed by GBSLE staff. Standardized law enforcement duty belts were also provided. Several of the same belts were provided to the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs Police Academy so that law enforcement personnel will train with the same equipment they will use out in the field.

While the monitoring team was not able to witness law enforcement officers conducting a search and seizure operation, the provision of this equipment and the training discussed previously on its use, is a significant contribution to GCG’s capacity to carry out its regular patrol functions and protect Georgia’s coastline.

By the summer of 2012, USG assistance will provide for the installation of NATO compatible, ship-shore encrypted radio communications equipment on select GCG patrol boats and shore sites. This equipment will prevent anyone with a standard, commercial marine radio or scanner from listening to sensitive GCG operational conversations, and thus will allow for secure communications especially when conducting sensitive law enforcement operations. The installation of encrypted radio communications equipment will satisfy a critical NATO partnership objective of interoperability, which will help to move Georgia closer to Euro-Atlantic partnership and advancing U.S.-Georgia strategic interests/priorities.[23]

D. Integrated Coastal Surveillance Network

USG assistance built four radar stations, two of which were destroyed in 2008 and then rebuilt. GCG spent several hundred thousand Georgian Lari (GEL) of its own funds to construct a new Poti Radar Station, as well as high quality Universal Power Supply systems with installed voltage regulators for all radar stations and command posts. Backup radar systems and power sources have been installed at all five radar stations. Once the new networkable radar systems were installed by the GBSLE program at all five coastal radar stations, EXBS funded the integration of all five radar stations and two command posts. 

Date: 2012 Description: Poti Command Post Integrated Coastal Surveillance Network. - State Dept ImageThis newly integrated coastal surveillance system enables a consolidated and linked network that not only shows a total coastal radar picture, but also supports the transfer of encrypted data such as surveillance video, SMS[24], and voice communications. Furthermore, the integration of command, control, and communications (C3) allows GCG to easily and accurately identify and track activity along its coast and coordinate maritime enforcement operations from any location linked to the network. This total network package includes: encrypted High Frequency (HF) and multi-band radios with installed “blue force tracking”; Automatic Identification System (AIS) capabilities that are interoperable with the network; standalone AIS systems at every radar station and command post which feed collected AIS data into the network; a combined radar picture supported by five strategically located radar sites; and, specialized (GPS synched and integrated) Automatic Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) equipment located at three strategic locations, enabling the GCG to monitor marine radio communications and triangulate the positions of where suspicious communications are occurring — a vital tool for identifying illicit activity. Additionally, the integrated system provides a significant amount of real-time data on maritime activity, which can be accessed and viewed from multiple remote locations. As a result of USG’s support in this area, by the end of 2012, the GCG is expected to have a robust early warning and detection capability for combating illicit activities within its territorial waters.

With these combined four elements of the total network package, Georgia is equipped with a strong coastal surveillance system which has had a significant impact on coastal security. For example, since installation, the GCG has collected enforcement data on more than 1,000 vessels, boarded approximately 200 vessels and successfully identified and prosecuted 253 cases involving the violation of Georgia’s maritime border.[25] Another outcome of the implementation of this surveillance capability is illustrative. A common trend identified from the GCG integrated network is that various merchant vessels have ceased transmission of AIS when operating in close proximity of Abkhazia, which has raised suspicions of smuggling activity in the occupied region. Not only is this practice a violation of Georgian and international maritime law,[26] it is a “suspicious indicator” of possible illegal trade with the occupied territory of Abkhazia. As a result of the enhanced surveillance capabilities, the GCG is now able to identify vessels and communicate securely, accurately track activity along its coast, and have real-time information immediately available throughout the GCG.

One of the many advantages of the integrated coastal surveillance system is that the AIS and radar contacts can be tracked simultaneously on a single screen. This overlay enables the GCG to easily identify when merchant ships deactivate their AIS while the overlapping radar contact remains. The system also allows this activity to be recorded, archived and available for use as evidence for prosecution. All vessels engaged in trade with Abkhazia, regardless of the vessel size or type of cargo, are required by Georgian law to first obtain clearance from the Government of Georgia. This regulation is also supported by the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) and several IMO circulars [27] were distributed to member states reinforcing this regulation/restriction.

The monitoring team was able to observe the operation of the integrated coastal surveillance system at Poti. The integrated system is reliable, and with adequate back-up, which allows for continued radar operations without interruption, and the interconnectivity and data gathering and storage capabilities are also impressive. The importance of these provisions coupled with the able use of the radar and integrated network cannot be overstated. This capability is essential and adds significantly to Georgia’s security.

GCG Command posts collect data and reports from the radar stations in their region as well as relay tasking to units in the region. During the site visit to the Batumi CP, the monitoring team learned that an electrical failure had occurred the previous night and that the backup generator was not working properly (this situation is common in Georgia where parts are often “borrowed” from other pieces of equipment to serve as stopgaps). Thus, a major center for data collection was not able to perform its function. However, in this instance, data were being shared from other systems via mobile phone and nearby vessel radios, demonstrating the ability of staff to continue performing their duties even under challenging circumstances. One additional indicator of increased GCG professionalism was the dedicated effort of the U.S.-trained Chief of the Batumi CP, and her staff, to correct the problem as soon as possible. By the end of the day, power had been restored to the Batumi Command Post.

As of the writing of this report, the GCG has installed a backup power generator and UPS system for the Batumi CP to ensure that no interruption in the operations of the CP takes place. The Batumi CP will be integrated into the coastal surveillance network by June 2012, which will significantly improve GCG knowledge of the operating environment and ability to communicate securely with units, as well as ensure continuity of operations in the event that either of the CPs cannot function.

The prospects for sustainability of the installed surveillance and communications equipment by 2014 looks quite promising. Training and maintenance support for the new radio equipment already exists in Georgia, and the Georgian Ministry of Defense uses similar radio communications systems and provides in-country maintenance and training centers as part of the USG’s Georgia Train and Equip (GTEP), ISAF mission contribution program. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) program in Georgia has agreed to accept nearly $5 million in program funds leftover from a GBSLE effort to modernize the Georgian Border Police’s long-range communication capabilities. Border Police leadership requested that INL also purchase the same radio systems as the GCG. Approximately $1 million of the $5 million total will be used for at least one year of hands-on maintenance training, as well as development of a Border Police radio equipment maintenance center in West Georgia, likely at the GCG base in Poti.

E. Vessel Maintenance and Supply Tracking System

Date: 2012 Description: Vessel Maintenance Tracking System. - State Dept Image GCG CPs maintain a tracking system which indicates the readiness status (readiness for patrol duty) of every GCG patrol vessel operating in its area of responsibility (AOR). The readiness status is determined by the number of assigned crew, fuel supply, maintenance status and quantity of provisions aboard. These data are tracked daily and submitted in the form of a report to GCG and Border Police leadership. Upon completion of patrol duty, fuel consumption is checked and recorded along with all law enforcement activity such as number of vessels boarded and inspected, fines administered, rescues conducted, hours on patrol, any damage or maintenance problems, and any crew injuries. These data are also included in the daily reports. If maintenance is required, the orders/requests are electronically submitted in the form of a report and the sender selects the appropriate action and personnel to receive the report. These reports are automatically numbered and archived for tracking through to completion, which allows for greater transparency and accountability. The detailed tracking of the amount of fuel supplied and consumed was initiated following recommendations by the EXBS Maritime Advisor to reduce the potential for misappropriation of this expensive and valuable resource, a historically problematic issue in Georgia and throughout the former Soviet Union.

Since implementing the detailed system for tracking fuel, the MoIA inspection unit was able to successfully catch and prosecute several GCG personnel involved in theft of fuel from patrol boats. This specific case saved thousands of dollars in future lost fuel supplies and received national media coverage, sending a strong message to GCG and other MoIA agencies that such corrupt practices will not be tolerated. For many years, the USG provided fuel to the GCG but, due to these enhancements, fuel and oil supply is no longer an issue for the GCG.

The monitoring team received a demonstration of this tracking system. Its mandatory use points to the increased professionalism and efficiency of the GCG with a clear indication that they are committed to eliminating corrupt practices, improving business practices, and closely monitoring the status and needs of the vessels very carefully. These are key factors to be noted regarding sustainability and Euro-Atlantic integration and interoperability.

VIII. DELAYS IN IMPLEMENTATION

Three USG-funded projects have been delayed, all in Poti and all the result of contracting and procurement difficulties: 1) construction of a new maintenance facility; 2) installation of security cameras to monitor the Coast Guard base perimeter; and, 3) dredging the port. Construction of a new maintenance facility will commence in May 2012 with an expected completion date of the end of the year. The second delayed project is the dredging of the Poti port, where the water depth at the pier in Poti is currently too shallow. Dredging will deepen the harbor water to a consistent depth of six meters to enable greater maneuverability of the GCG’s fleet and reduce the number of mechanical failures due to the excessive ingestion of bottom silt. The third delayed project is the installation of cameras around the perimeter of the GCG station which is currently monitored by a foot patrol. A closed circuit television system will be installed on the existing fence to provide centrally monitoring surveillance of the base perimeter, enabling the GCG to significantly reduce personnel and associated costs required to maintain security. Equally important, it will protect the millions of dollars in materials and assets which the USG has invested in this base.

IX. CONCLUSIONS

In conclusion, based on the data, the monitoring team believes that USG assistance provided since August 2008 for all the activities described in this report has contributed greatly to the competent management, training, operation, and maintenance of the GCG. Beginning with planning activities conducted in July 2009, the creation of the MAP was an integrated USG-GCG effort. The EXBS Maritime Advisor worked closely with GCG leadership to identify priorities and areas where the GCG would complement USG assistance for a combined effort. As a result, and a major indicator of success, the GCG has enacted a policy to match USG assistance (e.g., for every boat USG helped refurbish, the GCG refurbished one on its own, for every building USG helped refurbished/repaired, the GCG funded its own refurbishment work). The GCG also continues to purchase and expand its spare parts inventory as well as fund priority purchases such as backup power supply systems and other vital infrastructure improvements. This demonstrates that a shared commitment exists. The goal of the MAP was to put in place a strong fleet of vessels, good maintenance facilities, trained personnel, solid command/control/communications functions, and trained and responsible leadership. While there is still ongoing work, the GCG, with USG assistance, is on track to meeting this goal.

Date: 2009 Description: Maritime Advisor Arrives - LT Owen gives a speech during GCG Day Ceremonies in July 2009 announcing a new and unprecedented era in USG-GCG support. This support has included a dedicated USCG representative in-country over the next several years. - State Dept Image

In addition to the importance of the initial planning for the MAP, successful leveraging of support from a multitude of USG and host nation agencies with similar goals and policy objectives was vital to maximizing the efficient use of the assistance dollars and ensuring the success of the Maritime Security program. The architects of the MAP took great pains to create a plan that identified and secured multiple funding sources, eliminated overlapping and/or duplicative agency efforts, complemented already initiated projects and, mostly importantly, factored in many political and cultural realities related to what would actually work in Georgia. This resulted in achieving far more than would have ever been possible by any single agency effort.

The integration of the various activities to build and sustain an entire system is of great importance. For example, with the introduction and training of port engineers, crew members and maintenance staff, and a rigorous vessel maintenance and supply tracking system being in place, GCG leaders now have the information and trained personnel needed to make critical decisions and plan for long term sustainability of the fleet and operations. Likewise, through the use of radar stations and surveillance capabilities manned by trained and competent personnel, the GCG is successfully interdicting illegal fishing vessels, vessels polluting Georgia waters, vessels carrying contraband, and vessels entering and exiting Georgian waters which have failed to acquire entry and exit clearances. The clear results of USG assistance is that the GCG has increased its capabilities to prevent, deter and detect smuggling of contraband and trafficking in persons, illicit weapons trafficking, the illegal migration of aliens, and to address terrorism threats. The USG contributions to training, technical assistance, infrastructure and maintenance have been and are being used wisely. USG and GOG-funded maritime projects that are still to be completed have a very solid and sustainable foundation upon which to build.

X. POST SCRIPT – MARCH 20-21, 2012

Just as this report was being finalized, the monitoring team received an unclassified e-mail on March 20 describing a recent GCG accomplishment, which provides a concrete example of the results of USG assistance. Embassy Tbilisi's Coast Guard Liaison was in Batumi and confirmed that a Russian vessel was in Turkish waters with its engines on stand-by when it drifted into Georgian waters without informing Georgian authorities (the Georgian Coast Guard has saved the ship tracking data as evidence). The Georgian Coast Guard made several attempts to hail the vessel in Russian and in English from the Gonio radar station, and then from the Batumi Coast Guard command post. When the vessel failed to respond, the GCG dispatched a patrol boat with a law enforcement team on board. When the Georgian patrol vessel arrived, the Russian ship started its engines and attempted to depart for Turkish waters. The Georgian Coast Guard was eventually able to communicate with the vessel and undertake a law enforcement boarding. The Russian vessel remained at anchor off the Batumi port with three Georgian law enforcement personnel aboard while the Russian Captain was brought ashore for questioning and legal proceedings.

The Captain was charged with three violations: failing to inform Georgian authorities before entering Georgian waters; failing to monitor VHF Channel 16; and, crossing into Georgian waters without operating engines. The fine for these violations is GEL 50,000 (approx. USD 30,000). The incident was resolved by the end of the day, with the fine paid and the ship and all crew (including the Captain) released to continue to Turkey to deliver the cargo.


[1] USG foreign assistance is categorized under 4 sectors: (1) Investing in People; (2) Peace and Security; (3) Economic Growth; and (4) Governing Justly and Democratically.

[2] USG has provided approximately $200 million foreign assistance funding in maritime and related border security activities to GOG over the past 12 years since 1998: $166 million was provided to GBSLE and $34 million to EXBS.

[3] Report by U.S. Embassy in Georgia “GBSLE/EXBS Support to Georgia Coast Guard, 2011”.

[4] See “Preliminary Review of Maritime Security in Georgia – March 2011 at: http:\\www.tbilisi.state.gov.

[5] CIA World Factbook

[6] Batumi Sea Port website, <http://www.batumiport.com/eng/index.php?page=show&sec=50>

[7] Bedwell, Helena. June 17, 2011. Bloomberg. <http://www.portraitofgeorgia.com/newspost/georgia-tourism-may-grow-to-11-of-gdp-in-future-kobalia-says/>.

[8] See Footnote 4.

[9] American Embassy Tbilisi Cable, November 2011.

[10] Sanders, Deborah. “Maritime Security in the Black Sea: Can Regional Solutions Work?” European Security. Vol. 18, No. 2, 101-124, June 2009.

[11] Kasim, Kamer. “The August 2008 Russian-Georgia Conflict and its Implications: A New Era in the Caucasus?” OAKA. Vol. 5, No. 9, 64-81, 2010.

[12] American Embassy Tbilisi Cable, November 2011

[13] MoIA Border Police of Georgia, http://gbg.gov.ge/?lang=eng&page=113

[14] The Georgian Coast Guard formed in 1998 when the first naval division was established within the State Border Defense Department of Georgia. At the same time, the first and the second naval divisions were founded in Poti and Batumi. On July 16, 1998, GCG began patrolling the Georgian maritime border. In 2005 the State Border Defense Department of Georgia became a subordinate agency to the MoIA with significant increase in status and coast guard functions (Source: The Border Police of Georgia: Coast Guard (2009), p4).

[15] EXBS staff, meeting February 4, 2011

[16] See Footnote 4.

[17] See Footnote 4.

[18] Interview with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), EXBS Program Maritime Advisor on February 4, 2012.

[19] Monitoring Team Observations, February 4, 2012.

[20] See Footnote 18.

[21] See VIII – Delays in Implementation. Currently, the newly purchased tools and machinery are in storage, with the exception of the welding tools, which are being used to renovate vessels.

[22] Interview with Poti GCG Director of Operations, February 2012.

[23] Interview with EXBS USCG Maritime Advisor, February 2012.

[24] Short Message Service (SMS) is the text communication service component of phone, web or mobile communication systems, using standardized communications protocols that allow the exchange of short text messages between fixed line or mobile phone devices

[25] Interview Command Post Chief in Poti – February 4, 2012

[26] Regulation 19 of UN IMO’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Chapter V : http://www.imo.org/ourwork/safety/navigation/pages/ais.aspx

UN IMO - SN/Circular 227 (6 January 2003)
http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Safety/Navigation/Documents/227.pdf

[27] CIRCULAR NO. 2290 (6th Feb 2001), 239 (11th Nov 2004), 260 (2nd Feb 2007), etc. http://www.georgiatimes.info/en/articles/33443-1.html



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