Increased maritime surveillance a priority for the CGPCS
The 20th Plenary session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), which took place in Mauritius from 5th-7th July under the theme of “Leaving a lasting legacy for the region,” was attended by 24 countries and 85 organisations. It was co-hosted by the Indian Ocean Commission under the Chairmanship of the Republic of Seychelles.
The James Michel Foundation was invited to attend the Plenary Session as an Observer.The meeting provided the Foundation with an important platform to promote its mission and programmes. The meeting also enabled the Foundation to network and establish working relations with a number key organisations.
The Chief Executive Officer of James Michel Foundation, Mr. Jacquelin Dugasse, participated in the discussions in two of the three working groups; namely the groups focused on the Indian Ocean - ‘Group on Capacity Building’ and ‘Maritime Counter Piracy and Mitigation Operations.’ They reviewed and approved the CGPCS communique which was released after the meeting.
The main highlights of the communique are as follows:
1. The meeting recognised that CGPCS remains a vital mechanism and point of contact for the international coordination of all states, international and regional organisations and non-state actors involved in addressing piracy off the coast of Somalia in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851 of1 8th December 2008 and resolved achieve the objective of zero seafarers and zero ships detained by pirates, key elements remain:
(1) deterrence, monitoring and surveillance at sea,
(2) compliance with the Best Management Practices,
(3) armed guards on board merchant vessels when required following a risk assessment and legally deployed,
(4) reporting networks to establish adequate Maritime Situational Awareness,
(5) a legal finish to enable arrest and prosecution of suspected pirates, and
(6) the disruption of onshore pirate networks and financiers.
2. The CGPCS calls on the Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal States to use all of its influence on the clans and communities holding hostages in Somalia. CGPCS members are requested to consider support for seafarers and their families held hostage both during captivity and after release.
3. The Contact Group stands ready to support the Federal Government and Federal Member States of Somalia to adhere to the commitment made at the London Somalia Conference to develop maritime security with a capable Coast Guard function and appropriate anti-piracy legislation and assist the Maritime Security Coordination Committee (MSCC) as the central mechanism for developing capability and identifying and channeling support.
4. The CGPCS supported the continued coordinated efforts of the international community to deter and combat piracy activity through maritime surveillance, patrols, and monitoring as well as capacity building in the Western Indian Ocean region and in Somalia
5. The CGPCS agreed that piracy is far from being fully eradicated, the Contact Group will continue to draw upon its membership network to galvanise international and regional responses to address changing threat conditions in the region.
6. The Contact Group needs to maintain an agile, flexible and responsive way of working in order to preserve its successes and tackle the piracy threat as it evolves.