25 February 2014

Tanzania: Fight Against Indian Ocean Pirates Gathers Momentum, Say EU

THE fight against piracy along the coast of the Indian Ocean is now likely to gain momentum as European Union (EU) ponders ways that could help identify countries that offer financial and military support to the pirates.

The EU is also backing up efforts by Somalia to have stable federal government being one of the vital measures that would help curb the vice as most of the pirates originate from the country. The Head of EU delegation to Tanzania, Amb Filiberto Sebregondi made the remarks on Monday during an event to brief media on the training sessions for Tanzanian Maritime Police and Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) Navy in Dar es Salaam.

He noted that EU was committed to combating Somali- based piracy as Tanzania was an important partner in strengthening the regional maritime security through sharing maritime awareness thus such trainings were vital. The training is aimed at sharing knowledge and experiences in war against piracy in the Horn of Africa and Western Indian Ocean region.

Piracy in the Western Indian Ocean has been a growing threat to security, international shipping and development since the mid- 2000s. Amb Sebregondi pointed out that while bearing all aspects of organised crime, piracy was a complex issue that could only be contained by combining political and diplomatic efforts with military and legal action, development assistance and strong international coordination.

"The EU is in a unique position to contribute to international efforts, and addresses challenges through a comprehensive approach tackling both current symptoms and root causes of the problem," he noted. Amb Sebregondi maintained that the EU is aimed at supporting the development of maritime security that includes counter-piracy and maritime governance through the current regional maritime capacity building mission in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean (EUCAP Nestor).

He noted that the mission was mandated to work across the Horn of Africa and Western Indian Ocean regions as teams were already carrying out activities in Somalia, Djibouti, and the Seychelles and since December 2013 through a liaison officer in Tanzania.

The EUCAP Nestor Liaison Officer-Tanzania, Mr Eisso Kronenberg said the key objective of the mission was to strengthen the maritime criminal justice system from the investigation of serious maritime crime to the arrest and detention of suspects, investigation and prosecution.

The two-week theoretical and practical training that was jointly organised by the maritime police, TPDF as well as EUCAP Nestor brought together eight police officers from the Tanzania Maritime Police and other eight officers of the TPDF Navy.

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