The countries of the area, with the support of many partners, have set up common mechanisms for sharing information to better fight against all forms of pollution. Note the Regional Operations Coordination Center (CRCO) and the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Center (CRFIM) based in Antananarivo in Madagascar. “The regional simulation exercise is part of the overall action plan of the two regional centers to examine their capacity to coordinate and respond to maritime pollution incidents, together with the States of the region, and to strengthen the regional mechanism for sharing information and joint operations at sea”, underlines a press release from the General Secretariat of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).
The simulation exercise called “WIOPOLREX”, organized in the Seychelles, had thus mobilized delegates from the countries of the Indian Ocean zone that have signed, since 2018, the regional program (MASE) aimed at ensuring maritime safety in the zone. But also the Maldives, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Yemen, India, the United Kingdom and the United States. “This exercise aims to strengthen national prevention and response systems for effective regional cooperation during major maritime pollution incidents,” explains the IOC press release. The program and all activities are funded by the European Union.
The participants welcomed “this large-scale mobilization”, which, according to them, “demonstrates the will of States and partners to develop a collective approach to maritime pollution incidents in the region with a view to improving coordination and interoperability,” according to the statement. “Stakeholders are increasingly recognizing the essential role of regional cooperation frameworks, which allow countries to respond and collaborate more effectively during joint operations at sea to limit the effects of such incidents”, remarked, from his side, Jim Donegan, the charge d’affaires of the United States Embassy in Seychelles, quoted in the press release.
Comply with the Nairobi Convention
The Indian Ocean zone, a transit point for many boats, is often confronted with incidents whose management by a single country is often complicated by its limited technical capacities. “The sinking of the MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius, as well as other sinking and/or drifting situations that have occurred in neighboring countries, clearly indicate that one country alone cannot cope with all the levels of maritime pollution incidents”, recalls the press release.
To date, there are no well-documented data on pollution at sea in the Indian Ocean area. But the States play prevention and anticipate joint large-scale disaster plans by preparing local teams for response operations. “The development of the regional mechanism to combat maritime pollution incidents is part of a broader effort to promote the ownership of maritime security issues by the States of the region”, it was said. justified.
One of the challenges is the excellence of the intervention teams and bringing the States up to standard, which must in particular comply with the Nairobi Convention on the protection of the marine environment. “A field exercise (FTX) will be organized thereafter to confirm the recommendations resulting from the current simulation exercise, before proceeding to the validation of the revised regional contingency plan by the countries concerned”, concluded the press release. the IOC. A roadmap to coordinate common pollution control actions was adopted by the participants in the simulation exercise.
This article is originally published on lejournaldemayotte.yt