Four countries have announced their willingness to host the Maritime Information Fusion Centre that will soon be established in South-West Indian Ocean by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), PANA learnt from the IOC in Mauritius Sunday.
The countries include three IOC members – Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius – as well as Kenya
According to IOC’s Secretary-General Jean-Claude de L’Estrac, the centre constitutes an indispensable cooperation tool for the success of maritime security operations through its function of exchange and sharing of maritime information collected by each of the states in this part of the world.
”It is important to have such information that allows us to analyse the maritime traffic before engaging in coordinated operations at sea,” he said.
De L’Estrac said while technological progress had facilitated access to the immense natural wealth in the ocean, “insecurity is today an obstacle that prevents us from reaping such opportunities.”
Quoting from a recent report by the World Bank, the IOC Scribe said the whole economic circuits of the littoral and landlocked states of the region were affected by the increasing costs in maritime transport.
“In fact, piracy off the Somali coasts, which is the most known threat to our region, has provoked a general increase in the cost of maritime transport. This affects the cost of living of our populations. It has also produced traffic diversion as well as a decline in tourism and caused human trauma in several of our countries,” he declared.
According to him, it is important for the countries of the Indian Ocean to ensure that their maritime space does not becomes a zone where the rule of law is non-existent and is exploited by the global criminal network.
He said the Somali piracy crisis had revealed the dependence of the South-West Indian Ocean on providers of external security such as the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and others.
“We should reduce our dependency on the rest of the world by participating actively in the restoration of navigation security on the Indian Ocean maritime route,” he said.