Maritime history of Somalia


Maritime history of Somalia refers to the seafaring tradition of the Somali people. It includes various stages of Somali navigational technology, shipbuilding and design, as well as the history of the Somali port cities. It also covers the historical sea routes taken by Somali sailors which sustained the commercial enterprises of the historical Somali kingdoms and empires, in addition to the contemporary maritime culture of Somalia.
Somali sailors were aware of the region's monsoons, and used them to link themselves with the port cities of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. They also developed an understandable way of defining the islands of the Indian Ocean in their navigational reach. They would name archipelagos or groups of islands after the most important island there, from the Somali point of view.
During the same period, Somali merchants sailed to Cairo, Damascus, Mocha, Mombasa, Aden, Madagascar, Hyderabad and the islands of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, establishing Somali communities along the way. These travels produced several important individuals such as the Muslim scholars Uthman bin Ali Zayla'i in Egypt, Abd al-Aziz of Mogadishu in the Maldives, as well as the explorer Sa'id of Mogadishu, the latter of whom traveled across the Muslim world and visited China and India in the 14th century.
During the post-independence period, the Somali Navy mostly did maritime patrols so as to prevent ships from illegally infringing on the nation's maritime borders. The Somali Navy and Somali Air Force also regularly collaborated as a deterrent against the Imperial Navy of Ethiopia. In addition, the Somali Navy carried out Search and Rescue (SAR) missions. The National Navy participated in many navy exercises with the United States Navy, the Royal British Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.