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Maritime piracy: Presentation of the IOC Regional Programme for Safety at Sea

The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) hosted the first meeting of national focal points of the regional maritime security (MASE) on 7 and 8 March in the Seychelles. This is the starting phase of a comprehensive program, funded by the European Union, to fight against piracy and its effects on the economies of the Eastern and Southern African region and Indian Ocean (AfOA-OI).

This meeting helped to create the Technical Monitoring Committee MASE program. This committee consists of the network of national focal points will monitor, among other things, the organization of the IOC for the third ministerial meeting of the ESA-IO on safety and maritime piracy, after those of the Seychelles and Mauritius in May 2010 October 2010 respectively.

Maritime piracy: Presentation of the IOC Regional Programme for Safety at Sea
"The IOC which pilots the project to support on program startup MASE (Start-up MASE) is responsible for organizing the course of the third ministerial meeting of the AFOA-IO on security and maritime piracy. The location of this high-level conference will be decided on a proposal from the East African Community (EAC) at the General Secretariat of the IOC within thirty days.

The meeting in the Seychelles was also the opportunity to work the sharing and coordination of information between the 22 countries of the AFOA-IO region represented by the national focal points. The anti-piracy unit, created by the IOC in June 2012 and based in the Seychelles, rightly mission is to improve the regional coordination and exchange of information in the Start-up MASE. This objective is essential for effective implementation of the regional MASE program that mobilizes four regional organizations, including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD, Horn of Africa), IOC, EAC and the Common Market Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

The network of national focal points which form the technical monitoring committee MASE program, will ensure that all countries have the means to implement medium and long-term regional strategy against piracy and for the promotion of maritime security adopted at the second ministerial meeting in Mauritius on 7 October 2010.

The meeting of 7 and 8 March shows the Seychelles ongoing commitment of regional organizations for maritime security. In this struggle, the AFOA-IO region known to have the financial and technical support from international partners, the EU as a donor, UNODC, UNPOS, EUCAPNESTOR 1, INTERPOL, and China and Australia. Indeed, if "securing our water has a regional issue [...] range, we must remember, this is global," said the Secretary-General of the IOC, Jean Claude de l'Estrac "

The MASE Programme in brief

The MASE Programme conducted jointly by the IOC, COMESA, EAC and IGAD aims to implement the Strategy and Action Plan against piracy and promoting maritime safety, finalized within the interregional Coordination Committee (CIRC) and adopted at the Ministerial Conference in Mauritius in October 2010.

A specific task is assigned to each regional organization:

• IGAD is the officer responsible for the overall coordination of the MASE program, including the Action Plan for Somalia focuses on the roots of the problem specific to that country;

• EAC is responsible for strengthening national and regional capacities in the arrest, transfer, detention and prosecution of pirates;

• COMESA is responsible for the regional capacity for funding and the economic impact of piracy in the region;

• IOC is responsible for building national and regional capacity for maritime safety, as well as the establishment of a network for the exchange and coordination of information.

"It is fortunate that all our organizations share a common regional marine safety program, rich and complex as it strives to meet all aspects of piracy", says the Secretary-General of the IOC, Jean Claude de l'Estrac .

Some figures

€ 2 million
This is the amount allocated to the Start-up MASE by the European Union (EU).

€ 37.5 million
This is the amount of the total EU for the implementation of the Programme MASE, which has the authorizing IGAD.

$ 5 billion
This is the extra cost of maritime piracy in the AFOA-IO in 2011. This additional cost is 80% supported by shipowners and shippers (fuel, armed escort, and insurance premiums) and 20% by the states of the region.

This is the magnitude of the decrease in the activity of the port of Victoria in the Seychelles. Maritime piracy has hit the archipelago, especially the tuna industry, a mainstay of the economy. This is why Seychelles is one of the spearheads of the region and the IOC in the fight against piracy. The implementation of the Anti-piracy IOC Seychelles was therefore natural.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, more than 50% of the attacks took place at sea off the coast of Somalia in 2012. This is the most dangerous maritime region of the world even though the number of attacks has declined slightly. Moreover adds, Jean Claude de l’ Estrac, "Piracy and its effects are far from diminishing. Worse, the attacks are becoming more violent."


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