Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo has called for collective actions to address maritime security challenges that undermine the blue economy.
Speaking on Wednesday the second Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security in the Western Indian Ocean and the 22nd Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia in Mauritius, Omamo said piracy and ocean insecurity threaten the lives of the people and communities living along the Western Indian Ocean.
She is accompanied by Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba. The conference seeks to take stock of the implementation of the recommendations agreed on at the first conference last year on mechanisms for collaboration to address maritime threats in the Indian Ocean, and provide direction for establishment of the regional maritime security policy.
Kenya is collaborating with India, Denmark and France among other countries to boost surveillance in the Indian Ocean and curb piracy. In November last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Kenya Coast Guard Service, a maritime security organ that operates in high seas to protect Kenya’s territorial waters against terrorism, piracy, illegal fishing, human and drug trafficking, among other maritime crimes.
The Kenya Coast Guard Service was established under the Kenya Coast Guard Service Act 2018 and was operationalised on October 22, 2018.
Greece, a global leader in maritime and naval affairs, in April pledged to the Coast Guard through training, technical assistance and other capacity building.
This was agreed when Namwamba held bilateral talks with Greek Minister for Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy Fotios-Fanourios Kouvelis at the Ministry Headquarters in Athens, Greece.
In October last year, UN Secretary-General in a report said combined achievements of the international community through the Contact Group on Piracy had helped reduced piracy at in the Indian Ocean Coast. However, five significant piracy incidents occurred in the regional waters around the Somali coastline, in the Somali Basin and the Gulf of Aden, involving the Sameer (24 October), the Ever Dynamic (15 November), the Galerna III (16 November), the Leopard Sun (22 February) and the Kriti Spirit (31 March).
The piracy attempts, he said, demonstrate that the underlying conditions fuelling piracy have not changed and that piracy networks are still very active.