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Mauritius: Preparing the Ground for an Integrated Maritime Safety and Security Strategy

A table top exercise geared towards assisting States signatory of the Djibouti Code of Conduct to implement and enforce maritime safety and security and counter piracy and armed robbery against ships kicked off yesterday at the Cybercity in Ebène.

In his opening speech the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, recalled that the ocean is our future and the next wave of prosperity would come from the ocean. The ocean economy faces both opportunities and challenges and maritime security remains high on our agenda, he said.

In the wake of the intensification of the maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean basin, Mauritius is poised to become a strategic maritime and shipping hub, said the Minister. On that score Government is keen to facilitate vibrant maritime commerce and economic activities at sea given that these initiatives strengthen economic security while at the same time protect maritime domains against ocean-related threats such as piracy, criminal activities, amongst others, he pointed out.

According to Mr Koonjoo maritime security remains a major threat to this region. He recalled the persistent scourge of piracy off the coasts of Somalia and the challenges posed to private sector development, regional and international trade, economic integration and development. However, it is important to blend public and private maritime security activities, and tackle maritime threats by integrating efforts with other countries, ideally within a specific legal framework, he added.

Organised in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), this two-day exercise aims at determining how best to support Mauritius’ efforts to enhance its Coast guard functional and operational capabilities for improved maritime security, safety and environmental responses. Around 40 senior level personnel from relevant ministries and Government departments such as the Police, Mauritius Ports Authority, Mauritius Revenue Authority, Civil Aviation, State Law Office, Meteorological Services, and Passport and Immigration Office are participating. The resource persons are exports from IMO.

The Table Top Exercise

The aim of the exercise is to prepare the ground for an integrated maritime safety and security strategy, which will improve rescue operations and the fight against crime and pollution through cooperation between surveillance authorities in a cost efficient manner. It forms part of the Contingency Planning Project geared towards assisting States signatory of the Djibouti Code of Conduct to implement and enforce maritime safety and security and to counter piracy and armed robbery against ships.

The exercise is intended to stimulate discussions and to demonstrate the need for co-operation amongst government departments and agencies, using a range of evolving scenarios to determine respective roles, responsibilities, processes and procedures, and how these may develop, both with respect to routine business, and during an incident. Such scenarios will enable to identify areas where there may be gaps in current policies, plans, processes and procedures, and how IMO and other agencies might be able to provide better assistance to States in the region in the future.
Source: Government of Mauritius

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