About 10 minutes after heading out into the harbor in a boat, a group of a dozen or so oil tanks came into view along the coastline. A large oil tanker was moored in front of them.
“That’s our vessel,” said Omar Osman, a member of Djibouti’s fledgling coast guard and our guide, as he pointed to a small boat about seven meters in length.
“Garde-côtes” (coast guard) was written in French along the hull. The boat had no roof, and just a solitary crew member sitting in the stern. Comparing it to the size of the oil tanker was like comparing an ant to an elephant.
“The oil tanks are the most important facility in the harbor. We guard them 24/7,” said a proud Osman, puffing out his chest.