At the EU-hosted ‘Our Ocean conference’ in Malta, from 5 to 6 of October, the European Union committed to take actions in order to tackle the problem of maritime security, among other issues.
In particular, the EU announced 36 commitments in total, referring not only to maritime security, but also to marine pollution, blue economy, climate change and marine protection.
Also, IMO joined UNODC in a side-event, organized by the One Earth Foundation, in which the “maritime security index” launched. The index aims to become a useful tool to identify areas for development and expanded cooperation by shedding focus to the following key elements: maritime mixed migration, international cooperation, rule of law, maritime enforcement, coastal welfare, blue economy, fisheries, piracy & armed robbery, illicit trades and maritime mixed migration.
EU announced that it will allocate €37.5 million to a programme for supporting maritime security and counter piracy in along the south-eastern African coastline and in the Indian Ocean.
The programme supports alternative livelihood initiatives in the coastal pirate areas of Somalia, investigation capacities at national and regional level, prison reforms, prosecution and judicial capacity, disruption of illegal financial flows, combating money laundering, and various other maritime tasks,
Also, EU will invest €4 million in its satellite monitoring programme (Copernicus) to support EU agencies and EU Member States in monitoring oil pollution and large-scale commercial fisheries (including the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing) in the Northeast Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the North Sea, the Black Sea, the Pacific Ocean and around the Canary Islands.
Regarding the Gulf of Guinea, EU will introduce two new programmes: the SWAIMS programme (Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security), worth €29 million, and the programme to improving port security in West and Central Africa, worth €8.5 million.
Furthermore, the EU has launched a new surveillance tool in September 2017, called The ‘Search for Unidentified Maritime Objects’ tool, with the aim to detect ships and reveal the extend of human activities at sea.
As EU explains, the tool has the ability to map of ship routes, monitoring shipping intensity, identifying polluting ships, monitoring fishing activities, countering piracy and smuggling, and controlling maritime borders.