Source: Seychelles Nation (French Language)
The first meeting of Focal Points Program Maritime Safety (MASE) East and South Africa held in Seychelles.
Representatives of countries in the sub-region of the Indian Ocean, the Eastern and Southern Africa as well as partner organizations and agencies of the Indian Ocean Commission in the fight against maritime piracy were present for the first meeting of Focal Points of the Marine Safety Program (MASE).
The meeting, which started yesterday [7 Mar] at the Conference Hall of the STC in Victoria, is held a few months after the holding of a regional workshop on the fight against money laundering of piracy in Seychelles by IOC October.
MASE program mobilizes all 22 countries and key partners.
During the two days of discussions, delegates will have the opportunity to discuss and evaluate the contribution of the anti-piracy cell introduced to Seychelles last year.¬†Delegates will also prepare the following actions, discuss preparations for the third ministerial conference of the Africa Southern, East and Indian Ocean which will take place soon.¬†The meeting will also take stock of the implementation of the regional strategy adopted by the Conference of Mauritius in October 2010 and proposals for action in the medium- and long-term.
It was the Minister of Transport and Internal Affairs, Mr. Joel Morgan, who is also the chairman of the High-level Committee of the fight against piracy, who yesterday, kicked off the work of this meeting.
In his speech, the Minister Morgan expressed the gratitude of the Seychelles Government to the IOC and its anti-piracy unit and all partners, especially the European Union for its significant financial support given to this common struggle and the support to the organization of this meeting in the Seychelles.
“The Seychelles are the front line of this phenomenon of piracy – pirates have targeted merchant ships or fishing as well as recreational boats venturing ever closer to our territory,” said Minister.
He again stressed the enormous impact of piracy activities have on our economy, fishing is particularly threatened by this scourge, and even though the number of attacks has decreased the threat remains.
The Minister also drew delegates’ attention to the fact that Seychelles has a larger number of pirates imprisoned in the world, occupying nearly 20% of the places in the prison of¬†Montagne Pos√©e.
“This is a¬†heavy burden on¬†my country and we cannot continue to do it alone,” lamented the Minister Morgan.
“For piracy is a problem of security for the entire region and this burden must now be shared by all states in the region, “he said.
Minister Morgan subsequently hailed the efforts of Mauritius which has recently agreed to continue its justice case against 12 suspected pirates arrested earlier this year.
“This step taken by Mauritius shows the route and shows that all countries in the region must respond collectively to a global challenge to our region”, stressed Minister Morgan.
Regarding the Marine Safety Program, funded by the 10th EDF, adopted in October 2010 that the IOC coordinates the implementation, Minister Morgan has described as one of the world’s largest in terms of capacity building for States promoting maritime safety, particularly against the threat of piracy.
For his part, the General Secretary of the Indian Ocean Commission, Mr. Jean Claude de l’Estrac, said that the first meeting of national leaders, focal points of marine safety program is an important event for the conduct and coordination of our actions in our common fight against maritime piracy.
“This plague is always threatening.¬†The islands of the southwest Indian Ocean suffered the backlash of all these operations by predatory criminal networks that feed off piracy, “said M. de l’Estrac.
“The regional strategy against maritime piracy relies primarily on active coordination between the various regional organizations in the area of ??Southern, Eastern and Indian Ocean,” said M. de L’Estrac.
He welcomed the participation of “our countries and all organizations involved in this meeting.”
Each organization is responsible for specific goals and objectives, five in number, are the overall strategy:
– Tackling the roots of the problem in Somali land;¬†
– Strengthen the capacity of the means of repression in terms of judgment and imprisonment of pirates¬†
– Seeking to dismantle fraudulent economic sectors that feed;¬†
– Securing our marine space ,¬†
– Encourage states in the region to share information they have.
This is why it is good that all regional organizations involved in the establishment of a single maritime security program, said L Estrac.
He added that the program has the support of the European Union with an initial funding of ‚Ç¨ 2million is expected to complete a total of approximately 37.5 million over the next five years.
This commitment our European partners is highly valued because it is essential to the success of our fight against piracy, “said M. de l’Estrac.