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Re-Imagining Africa’s Agency in Global Maritime Security

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To address rising maritime security challenges along the African coastline, including the capture of the fishing vessel Almeraj 1 off the coast of Somalia, the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and Republic of Mauritius recently held a ministerial conference.

Those involved in the conference demonstrated the commitment of regional stakeholders to re-imagine Africa's agency in global maritime security and work towards a secure maritime environment along the African coastline. The following initiatives and partnerships have expressed that aim with varying degrees of success to date.

The IOC has established the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar and the Regional Centre for Operational Coordination (RCOC) in Seychelles to enhance maritime security.

The RMIFC provides information sharing and vessel monitoring within the Western Indian Ocean region, while the RCOC coordinates naval and security assets to promote maritime safety and security. The centers have become fully operational and have led to successful operations, including drug interceptions, combating illegal migration and fishing, and conducting search and rescue missions.

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The RMIFC and RCOC also collaborate with partners such as Operation EUNAVFOR-Atalanta and the British naval forces. The RMIFC and RCOC have been endorsed as regional centers by the signatory states of the IMO-led Djibouti Code of Conduct/Jeddah Agreement (DCoC/JA), ensuring coherence and avoiding duplication of efforts.



The launch of the new Safe Seas Africa Programme funded by the EU will further enhance the operationalization of the Maritime Security Architecture of the Western Indian Ocean and promote interconnection with existing maritime security architectures. The African Coast Guard Functions Forum, endorsed at the conference, aims to foster regional collaboration and trust among African coastguards to address maritime security threats.

Looking forward: The Italian Coast Guard has pledged to provide technical assistance for the establishment of the African Coast Guard Forum, with Kenya proposing to host the first forum next year.

Source: The Maritime Executive