As part of a phased approach focussing on capacity the national level, the “table top exercises” have given IMO a valuable opportunity to assist Member States in West and Central Africa to identify gaps and inconsistencies in their prevailing maritime strategies.
· Promote a multi-agency, whole of government approach to maritime security and maritime law enforcement issues
· Highlight the need for an integrated approach to maritime law enforcement, including the suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships
· Stimulate discussions and demonstrate the need for co-operation amongst government departments as well as other agencies and stakeholders
· Identify how IMO or other development partners can best support a Member State’s efforts to enhance its coast guard function capabilities for improved maritime security, safety and environmental responses
Who is the exercise aimed at?
Senior level personnel with decision-making authority from relevant Government departments, including, but not limited to, the national Maritime Administration, Port Authorities, Search and Rescue, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Office of the Attorney General, Defence, Intelligence, Police, Navy, Customs and Border Agencies, Immigration, Aviation, Fisheries, Environment.
The table top exercises present a range of evolving scenarios to determine respective roles, responsibilities, processes and procedures, and how these may develop, both with respect to routine business, and during an incident. The scenarios vary in complexity and the aim is to enable appropriate senior officials, acting as a national committee, to develop its collective decision-making abilities, from basic challenges to complex multi-agency involvement. By the end of the exercise, both IMO and the host country have a reasonably accurate picture of where IMO (in partnership with other agencies where appropriate) could potentially offer technical assistance to enhance that country’s coastguard function capabilities.
· Develop a national maritime strategy
· Develop a national maritime security strategy
· Revive or create a national maritime security and facilitation committee
· Develop national maritime security plans and procedures
Summary of the table top exercises
IMO has conducted table top exercises in the following countries:
· The Gambia
· Sierra Leone
Funding from the Government of Norway enabled IMO to expand the project to include:
· Congo (the Republic of)
· Côte d'Ivoire
· Democratic Republic of Congo
· Equatorial Guinea
Following the highly successful pilot table top in Accra in July 2012, Ghana has revived its National Maritime Security Committee, and as a direct consequence of the table-top exercise conducted in Monrovia in late 2012, IMO is now collaborating with the Liberia Maritime Authority to help it to operationalize its national maritime security strategy. As part of IMO’s Strategy for implementing sustainable maritime security measures in West and Central Africa, the Organization is providing technical assistance and embedding carefully selected experts in a number of other countries that have expressed a clear interest and commitment to regulate and secure their maritime domains.
Additional funding from the Government of Norway will enable IMO to organize table top exercises in seven other Member States in the region this year:
· Cape Verde
It is expected that IMO will offer the table top exercises to the remaining MOWCA States of Guinea Bissau, Mauritania and Sao Tomé and Principe in due course.
For details of IMO’s activities at the regional level, click here.