The first one, Cutlass Express, is currently underway in Djibouti, Mozambique and the Seychelles, on 25 January – 7 February.
Cutlass Express puts special emphasis on encouraging navies and civilian agencies and different countries to work together, as envisaged in existing frameworks such as the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) and the Jeddah Amendment to the DCoC – a regional agreement against maritime crime in the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean area.
The Djibouti Code of Conduct, that has been instrumental in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in the region, has seen its scope significantly broadened to cover other illicit maritime activities, including human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The Jeddah Amendment recognizes the important role of the “blue economy” including shipping, seafaring, fisheries and tourism in supporting sustainable economic growth, food security, employment, prosperity and stability.
IMO is also taking part in a Senior Leaders Seminar, organized by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in the margins of Cutlass Express, in Maputo, Mozambique, in which heads of navies from the region are participating.
During the exercise, IMO emphasized the need for multi-agency, multi-disciplinary and whole of government approaches to maritime development within the context of the Codes of Conduct and how maritime security can underpin economic development and generate wider stability.