Seychelles and IOC countries partner with EU for Safe Seas Africa programme 

General |Author: Sedrick Nicette Edited By: Betymie Bonnelame | July 5, 2024, Friday @ 13:14| 3107 views

Ministers Radegonde and Fonseka at the virtual signing ceremony. (Seychelles Nation)

The European Union and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) have signed an agreement that will see the implementation of the Safe Seas Africa (SSA) programme to enforce maritime security in Africa.

The signing ceremony took place in Mauritius on Thursday afternoon and representatives from other IOC countries joined virtually. In Seychelles this was done at the Regional Fusion and Law Enforcement Centre for Safety and Security at Sea (REFLECS 3) at the Ex-Coast Guard base.

The agreement was signed by the EU Ambassador to Mauritius and Seychelles, Oskar Benedikt, and the Secretary General of the IOC, Velayoundom Marimoutou.

In his statement, Marimoutou said, "The SSA programme offers an opportunity to establish this architecture as the main maritime safety system in the area, while at the same time strengthening national strengthening national capacities, deepening regional coordination and expanding collaboration with other collaboration with other players in this field in Africa and the Indian Ocean."

The Safe Seas Africa programme component implemented by the IOC will help consolidate and amplify the achievements of the Maritime Security (MASE) programme. The programme is financed by the European Union through a regional maritime safety architecture covering the entire western Indian Ocean, which was set up in 2018.

The EU Ambassador said, "The European Union plays a crucial role as a partner with the Indian Ocean in strengthening maritime security in this region. Illegal acts on the high seas pose serious threats to development, peace and stability in the region."

"Recent acts of piracy, drug trafficking, overfishing and other illegal acts are the challenges that need to be addressed. It is in this context that the European Union has made a commitment to the IOC to prepare the guidelines for the Safe Seas Africa programme and the actions that will be implemented in the region," he added.

The programme will include joint maritime security efforts across the Gulf of Guinea, the western Indian Ocean, and the western Pacific Ocean, with interconnecting architectures and mechanisms.

Two procedures that have led to regional agreements on the exchange of maritime information and the coordination of state action at sea form the foundation of the regional maritime safety architecture.

These agreements, signed in 2018 by the five member states of the IOC, as well as Djibouti and Kenya, have led to the creation of the Maritime Information Fusion Centre (MIFRC) based in Madagascar and the Regional Operations Coordination Centre (ROCC) based in the Seychelles.

The President of the IOC, Sylvestre Radegonde, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism of Seychelles, said that the Regional Operational Coordination Centre is a powerful symbol.

"The SSA programme will enable us to implement the decisions of the 36th, 37th, and 38th IOC Ministerial Councils, as well as to develop our national strategies and internal mechanisms to achieve the sufficient maritime capacity to carry out actions at sea," he added.

Several members of the international community are collaborating with the maritime security architecture for information exchange and operations at sea.

Tags: European Union, Indian Ocean Commission, REFLECS 3, Maritime Information Fusion, Regional Operations Coordination Centre Centre


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