Maputo — The Mozambican, South African and Tanzanian governments have established a platform to coordinate their efforts to fight against piracy and other illicit activities on the high seas.
To this end, the Defence Ministers of the three countries, Filipe Nyussi of Mozambique, Lindiwi Sisulu of South Africa and Hussein Mwinyi of Tanzania, signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam.
According to a press release from the Mozambican Defence Ministry, the memorandum is also intended to promote the territorial integrity of the three countries, and peace, stability and the well-being of their peoples.
The three countries are already cooperating in joint maritime patrols, to ensure the safety of shipping and protect the resources of the Mozambique Channel. The new memorandum is intended to improve levels of security in the waters of the signatory countries.
There have been several attacks by gangs of Somali pirates off the coasts of Tanzania and Mozambique.
The southernmost raid was on 27 December 2010, when pirates hijacked the Beira-based shipping boat the "Vega 5", operated by the company Pescamar, off the coast of the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane, and took hostage its crew of 24 (19 Mozambicans, three Indonesians and two Spaniards).
The pirates took the "Vega 5" to Somalia where they converted it into a pirate mother ship, and used it for attacks on merchant shipping in the Arabian Sea.
An anti-pirate patrol of the Indian navy engaged the "Vega 5" in a gun battle in March 2011, captured 61 of the pirates, and rescued 13 members of the original crew.