Tuesday, May 13, 2014

EU Takes the Fight Against Freight and Passenger Piracy off Somalia to Another Level

Only Organised and Well Financed Political Intervention Can Win This Battle
Shipping News Feature

EAST AFRICA – Following on from our article last week detailing the cost of piracy off the coast of Africa, the European Union has signed an agreement with the East Africa Community (EAC) to provide €2.3 million, under the EU’s Maritime Security Programme (MASE), in order to support freight and passenger interests by improving maritime security and creating a favourable environment for the economic development of the East African region. In signing the agreement, European Union’s regional Ambassador Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, said:

“Improving Maritime Security is key to create favourable condition for economic growth and social development. The MASE programme will support the East African Community in taking part in global and regional efforts towards safer Eastern Africa coasts.”

MASE is part of a €37.5 million package to four regional organisations of Eastern and Southern Africa (EAC, COMESA, IGAD and IOC) with five specific targets. The financial support will, among other things, strengthen the capacities of the four blocs in order to implement the Regional Strategy and Action Plan against Piracy and for Maritime Security which was adopted in 2010. Within this framework, the EAC will lead the efforts to strengthen legal, legislative and infrastructural capability for arrest, transfer, detention and prosecution of pirates, both at national and regional levels.

In particular, support will be provided to support investigative capacities as well as prisons/correctional services, with assistance offered to prosecutors and court staff. The aim is to foster the implementation of the Somalia Inland Action Plan; develop regional capacity; disrupt piracy financial networks; enhance capacity for maritime tasks and support functions; and to improve coordination and information exchange between stakeholders.

The MASE Programme falls under an EU comprehensive approach to fighting piracy and complements other EU actions such as EUCAP Nestor and Atalanta missions, the EU military Training Mission (EUTM) for Somalia and the Critical Maritime Routes Programme – MARSIC.

Photo: An EU Navfor team close in on a suspect dhow.