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.