East Africa: Maritime Safety in Western Indian Ocean At the Heart of the Regional Agenda

Posted By Stop Illegal Fishing:24th Jun, 2019: Maritime security

The Maritime Safety Week, organised by the Republic of Mauritius in partnership with the Indian Ocean Commission and the European Union, concluded on 20th June 2019 with the adoption of the Declaration of the Ministerial Conference on Maritime Safety in the Western Indian Ocean as well as the Final Communiqué of the 22nd Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). These two documents set the course for future actions to regional maritime security.

This conference was marked by the presence of more than 200 high-level delegates from some 40 countries and international organisations who were in Mauritius for the Ministerial Conference on Maritime Safety in the Western Indian Ocean on 18 and 19 June and for the 22nd Plenary Session of the CGPCS on 20 June 2019.

These meetings provided an update on maritime safety issues and the fight against maritime insecurity, notably against: piracy; drug trafficking; human trafficking; armed attacked; illegal fishing; money laundering; terrorism; and pollution by thirty on-going initiatives in the western Indian Ocean. Furthermore, the participants in the Ministerial Conference called for effective coordination of all these initiatives so as to avoid overlapping as well as to ensure long-term security of the Western Indian Ocean crossed by maritime routes of global importance.

The Plenary highlighted the mechanisms for the exchange of information and coordination of actions at sea which were set up through the MASE programme, which aims to promote Regional Maritime Security, and financed by the European Union, and the activities of the Djibouti Code of Conduct and its Jeddah amendments since they are building a regional maritime security architecture adapted to the needs of the region.

Participants expressed their positive appreciation of the participation of international partners in field operations, including naval forces and acknowledged that the regional centers that have been set up through these initiatives will make it possible to better coordinate actions at sea as well as streamline the flow of information between national security administrations. Moreover, the tools deployed under the MASE programme at the Regional Marine Information Fusion Center in Madagascar and at the Regional Operational Coordination Center in Seychelles will enable the maritime situation to be monitored in real time and to quickly identify suspicious or suspect behavior.

Another recommendation was that regional organisations in East Africa such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the East African Community (EAC) and the IOC are expected to remain at the forefront of maritime security engagement and action in support of their member States and with the support of development partners, including the European Union.

An increased commitment of Regional States in the GCPCS was highlighted by members as well as for ownership of activities related to the fight against piracy and related threats and crimes, reiterating the need for a stronger coordination of maritime security initiatives. Hence, CGPCS Members agreed to enhance the exchange of information among them and with the Secretariat so as to improve internal communication, commitment, synergies and visibility.

The Republic of Kenya was endorsed with the Chairmanship of the CGPCS for the next two years as from 01 January 2020 with full support from the Indian Ocean Commission General Secretariat as secretariat of the Contact Group to ensure continuity and members agreed to contribute to communication activities.

Source: All Africa

Recent Posts

Regional Technical Team meets to advance the SADC Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre

The Sixth Meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Technical Team...

Read More...

Iranian flagged fishing vessels identified operating illegally in Somali EEZ

Revelations of the continuing presence of unauthorised vessels operating illegally in Somali waters...

Read More...

Corruption and fisheries: risks and opportunities

Stop Illegal Fishing delivered a series of two webinars in conjunction with the...

Read More...

TRAFFIC report highlights unsustainable trade in seahorses

A new report from NGO TRAFFIC, ‘Seahorse trade dynamics from Africa to Asia’,...

Read More...

SIF News Categories

The Issues

One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.

Find Out More...

Our Approach

Creating change by informing policy and practice, our hands on experience and investigative work means we are often the first to spot new trends and find ways to challenge these.

Read More...

Our Initiatives

Illegal fishing is a complex issue that requires multifaceted responses. Stop Illegal Fishing are working with a range of organisations to bring about change.

Find Out More...

Recent Posts

Regional Technical Team meets to advance the SADC Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre

The Sixth Meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Technical Team...

Read More...

Iranian flagged fishing vessels identified operating illegally in Somali EEZ

Revelations of the continuing presence of unauthorised vessels operating illegally in Somali waters...

Read More...

Corruption and fisheries: risks and opportunities

Stop Illegal Fishing delivered a series of two webinars in conjunction with the...

Read More...