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The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has announced amendments to the Djibouti Code of Conduct against the increasing number of piracy and armed robbery attacks against ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

As part of the ammendments, The Djibouti Regional Training Centre was opened on 12 November and the plan for regional training for Djibouti Code of Conduct countries next year was approved.

Funded by Japan, the Djibouti Regional Training Centre will implement capacity-building programmes to counter the threat of piracy for the sustainable development of the maritime sector.

Construction of the Djibouti Regional Training Centre was funded by Japan, through the Djibouti Code Trust Fund, with equipment provided by Denmark and the Republic of Korea.

IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu said: "This impressive new centre will be a vital component in the provision of maritime security and other training in the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean area and fully supports IMO’s 2015 World Maritime Day theme: ‘Maritime education and training’.

"It should be an asset to Djibouti and to the region for many years to come."

The expanded code of conduct will tackle other illicit maritime activity that threatens safety and security in the region, such as marine terrorism, environmental crimes, human trafficking and Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Additionally, the member countries have agreed to encourage information sharing on all illicit activities at sea.

The revised code of conduct was formulated in 2009 and signed by the representatives of 20 countries including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Seychelles, Somalia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Jordan, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan and the UAE.

"This impressive new centre will be a vital component in the provision of maritime security and other training in the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean area."

It will address the increasing risks from transnational organised crimes at sea and other threats to maritime safety and security in the region.

According to IMO, training and other capacity-building activities implemented as part of the Djibouti Code of Conduct has significantly reduced piracy in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden but its root causes are yet to be addressed.

According to Maritime Asset Security & Training (MAST), the Indian Ocean still faces challenges such as a lack of intelligence information sharing between countries involved in counter-piracy operations in the region.

MAST had urged the coastguards in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia to work together to help coastal nations combat piracy in their territorial waters and economic zones.


Image:The Djibouti Regional Training Centre. Photo: courtesy of IMO