The piracy information-sharing infrastructure covering Asia and the Indian Ocean has been significantly enhanced with the signing today (11 November 2011) of an important agreement in Singapore.
The agreement, signed by the three Information Sharing Centres (ISCs) set up under the IMO-led Djibouti Code of Conduct and the Singapore-based ReCAAP ISC, establishes a set of standard operating procedures for communicating and exchanging piracy-related information and will result in a major expansion of the reporting area of such incidents.
Under the Djibouti Code of Conduct (The Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, signed in Djibouti on 29 January 2009), three ISCs have been established, in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, Mombasa, Kenya and Sana’a, Yemen. The three ISCs were declared operational during the first half of 2011 and have since actively collected and disseminated piracy-related information.
ReCAAP (The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia) entered into force on 4 September 2006 and established the ReCAAP ISC in Singapore. The roles of the ReCAAP ISC include exchanging information among Contracting Parties on incidents of piracy and armed robbery, supporting the capacity-building efforts of Contracting Parties and facilitating cooperative arrangements.
The move to forge closer ties between the ISCs comes against the background of the continuing threat posed by piracy to maritime trade and the safe passage of ships through the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Piracy attacks have been reported close to the western coast of India, a ReCAAP Contracting Party, and many ships with flag or crews from ReCAAP Contracting Parties are being affected. Pooling resources between Djibouti Code of Conduct and ReCAAP ISCs will ensure vital piracy information can be shared across as wide an area as possible.
Continued dialogue between the ISCs is fully supported by IMO, as part of its wider aim to promote closer cross-regional collaboration through sharing best practices, information exchange and capacity-building efforts.