Mauritius: EU and IOC Sign Grant Agreement to Strengthen Maritime Safety


As part of the strategic effort to reinforce maritime security in the region, the European Union (EU) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), signed, today, in Ebène, a grant agreement to launch a dedicated component under the Safe Seas Africa (SSA) programme. The grant allocated by the EU is a sum of 15.3 Million Euros.

Signatories were the Ambassador of the EU to the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Oskar Benedikt and the Secretary-General of the IOC, Professor Vêlayoudom Marimoutou.

Intervening through videoconferencing the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism of the Republic of Seychelles who is the current Chairperson of the IOC, Mr Sylvestre Radegonde , and the Director of Maritime Affairs of Djibouti, Mr ALI-mirah chehem, reaffirmed the commitment to providing continued support to member states as regards the security of the region.

Delivering the speech of the Attorney General, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Maneesh Gobin, the Ministry’s Director of Co-operation (Regional Integration Division), Mrs Minakshi Dabee-Hauzaree, underlined that the signing of the agreement represents a major step towards the operationalisation of the regional maritime security architecture and fostering prosperity in the maritime zone.

Mrs Dabee-Hauzaree also expressed gratitude to the EU for its continuous support in strengthening maritime security and safety in the region while highlighting the persistent challenges in the maritime region, such as piracy, illegal fishing, drug trafficking, risks of marine pollution, and other transboundary maritime dangers. The SSA programme provides a platform for signatory countries engaged in the promotion of maritime security (MASE) and other partners, such as the European Naval Force and the Combined Maritime Forces to work together to promote peace and security in the region.

As for Ambassador Benedikt, he reiterated the crucial role of the EU in reinforcing maritime security in the region. According to him, the grant agreement will enable countries to establish their maritime national strategy, adopt legal frameworks as well as reinforce capacity so as to improve maritime safety and combat illicit maritime activities. Regional cooperation as well as multi-agency approach are key in addressing the multiple maritime security issues including drug trafficking, he added.

The Secretary-General of the IOC highlighted the importance of multilateralism in the area of maritime security to promoting stability and liberty for the society as well as the ecosystem. The SSA programme, Professor Marimoutou stated, shows the common goal towards consolidating the regional maritime security architecture.

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Safe Seas Africa Programme

The Safe Seas Africa programme will build on the foundations laid by the EU-funded MASE programme, which established a collaborative approach towards a regional maritime security architecture.

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In April 2018, at the Ministerial conference on maritime security held in Mauritius, two MASE agreements were signed by five countries namely, Comoros, Djibouti, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles. In November 2018, France and Kenya were also signatories of the two MASE agreements.