|Coast Guard of Albania|
|Parent agency||Ministry of Defence|
|Naval Bases||Durrës & Pasha Liman|
The Albanian Coast Guard (Albanian: Roja Bregdetare) is the maritime law enforcement force of Albania. It is a paramilitary force which is under the authority of the Ministry of Defence and its operational duties in peacetime are organized and commanded by the Inter-Institutional Operational Maritime Center (QNOD). The Coast Guard has the responsibility for the security of Albanian territorial waters, maritime surveillance and law enforcement, as well as search and rescue. In operational combat situations in peacetime or wartime, the direction and command of the Albanian Coast Guard passes to military authorities and Albanian Naval Force.
The Albanian Coast Guard was established in 2002, following the ratification by the parliament of the relevant law No. 8875, dated 4 April 2002 "on Coast Guard". The Coast Guard was equipped with 6 patrol vessels 200 Class Super Speranza, donated by Italian Coast Guard, which joined the three Seaspectre Mk III and the two 45' PCC Class, donated by US Coast Guard in 1999–2001. In August of the same year, 14 vessels of the Navy and the Coast Guard participated in the extensive trafficking operation "Puma", in cooperation with the law enforcement agencies, anti-smuggling, fisheries, etc., which successfully made possible the blocking of the maritime traffic between Albania and Italy.
In 2004, the Coast Guard receives as a donation 6 other patrol vessels, also from the Italian Coast Guard. This time they were 2000 Class patrol vessel.
Even prior to the country's NATO accession, Albania was committed to the modernization of Navy fleets, both Navy and Coast Guard, since the old fleet was almost all out of service. In 2007, was signed a contracts with the Damen Group for the completing of the Coast Guard with Patrol vessels to be used to perform a number of tasks and duties, including coastal patrols, search and rescue, control and monitoring of maritime traffic, marine environment protection. The contract envisaged the construction of 4 vessels of the Damen Stan 4207 class, which the first of them would be built in Netherlands and 3 others in the Pasha Liman naval base in Albania. The first patrol vessel, named Iliria P-131, was built and delivered to the Albanian Coast Guard in August 2008. Enabling thus the following construction of 3 other patrol vessels in Pasha Liman Base by Albanian carpenters assisted by the experts of Damen Group. The second patrol vessel Oriku P-132 will be commissioned on September 2011, the third ship, Lisus P-133, will be operational in 2012 and fourth Butrint P-134 in 2013.
The Stan Patrol 4207 is capable of operating away from its base for 14 days at a range of 1750 nautical miles. With the Albanian territorial waters consisting of 225 miles of coastline and extending 12 nautical miles from the shore, one Stan Patrol 4207 could conceivably patrol the entirety of Albania's territorial waters in one mission. Though its cruise speed is 12 knots, it is capable of attaining speeds of up to 30 knots, a speed that allows for pursuit of many other water craft. It is fairly large for a patrol boat, being just over 140 feet in length. While this size decreases maneuverability, it allows the craft to have outstanding handling characteristics on open water, thus making it useful for open-sea patrols that Albania may participate in under the auspices of NATO.
This ship is also equipped with a deployable 7-meter Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) capable of carrying six individuals, a feature that could prove useful should the Albanian Navy or Coast Guard need to board a ship or pursue an intruder in waters requiring a high-maneuverability craft. Additionally, the Stan Patrol 4207 includes an on-board fire-fighting system, allowing the ship to double as both a patrol craft and an emergency response vehicle.
Albania also benefits from the Navy's recent procurement of an advanced radar observation system that can transmit its images. This system certainly improves Albania's ability to defend its coastline by directing ships to potential trouble areas in Albanian coastal waters and beyond. Furthermore, through this improvement, Albania's prospects for serving as a security producer in the Adriatic Sea will be heightened due to NATO's intelligence-sharing programs.
The missions of the Albanian Coast Guard include: