Mauritania Table of Contents
The Mauritanian Navy was created on January 25, 1966, after the extension of Mauritania's territorial waters from twelve to thirty nautical miles. By 1972 the navy had one small patrol gunboat and two small patrol craft that performed port control and customs duties. In 1987 the navy had thirteen boats. Of these boats, only eight were seaworthy, and the navy could send only two vessels out to open water at a time (see table 4, Appendix). Mauritania's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) extended 200 nautical miles out from the coast, but even if effective coastal surveillance were possible, the navy's vessels would not be able to control Mauritania's waters. Nouadhibou housed the major naval base; Nouakchott housed a secondary base.
At the navy's twentieth anniversary celebrations in 1986, the armed forces chief of staff announced that it would be reorganized to improve efficiency. In 1987 observers believed that the reorganized navy would consist of a joint operational command, with the navy as the senior service, teamed up with the air force, the Department of Fisheries, and the Customs Corps. The highest ranking officer in the navy was a colonel.
Data as of June 1988