“Somalia is ready to take its place to cooperate in the international effort against maritime crime,” said Captain Hassan Mohamed Afrah, Director of the Somali Maritime Administration, as he addressed participants this week at a key conference on information sharing in the Indian Ocean.
On the 17-18 December, Somali officials from the Somali Maritime Administration (SMA) of the Ministry of Ports and Marine Transport traveled to Mombasa with EUCAP Somalia advisors, to attend a regional conference on the EU CRIMARIO (Critical Maritime Routes in the Indian Ocean) project. CRIMARIO is an information sharing initiative for maritime security and cooperation in the Western Indian Ocean, which also works to support the blue economy of nations in the region.
EUCAP is supporting Somali partners to take part in CRIMARIO as part of an EU Critical Maritime Routes programme. It is intended that Somalia will start using the main information tool of the initiative, called IORIS (Indian Ocean Region Information Sharing and Incident Management). The IORIS tool works to increase maritime security awareness, and support prevention of trafficking and smuggling in the Indian Ocean. Use of the tool would mark an important capacity step in the development of Somalia’s state coastal responsibilities by the SMA, as it increases its institutional abilities with the support of EUCAP and other partners.
EUCAP’s adviser to the SMA, Andrew Lyttle, said a multi-partner approach to maritime and port security was key for Somalia’s maritime sector. “Friends and colleagues of neighbouring states are natural partners in the development of maritime security,” he said.
The increased participation of women was also discussed during the three-day event, with emphasis on strengthened knowledge sharing and raising awareness of the contribution of women to the maritime sector.
Following the conference there was also an opportunity to encourage technical cooperation and understanding with Kenya, with a visit by the Somali officials, together with EUCAP advisors, to the Kenyan Port Authority.