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Strengthening Port Security in Eastern and Southern Africa

Stone Town, Zanzibar - Tanzania, 15 September 2023 - ‘In Comoros, we have cases of trafficking, including human, drugs, and wildlife trafficking from Tanzania, Madagascar, and Zanzibar, and this event gave me the opportunity to talk to my counterparts from these countries to find out about their reality, their procedures, and their laws to identify potential areas of collaboration to develop strategies for a more coordinated approach in addressing this transnational crime’, “said  Mrs. Zam Zam Ismael Issouf, Prosecutor of the Republic of Comoros at the Tribunal of Fomboni, Moheli.

In partnership with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and INTERPOL and funded under the EU Programme on Port Security and Safety of Navigation, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized a regional joint exercise in Zanzibar for Port Facility Security Officers (PFSO), prosecutors and investigators from eight countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, including Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, and Tanzania. This was the first time such an event has been conducted.  

The scenario-based exercise covered the lifecycle of a crime in a port from actions by first responders through to prosecution, bringing the knowledge and expertise of the three implementing partners to the table. In line with the UNODC’s Strategic Vision for Africa 2030, under Investment Area 5, ‘Making criminal justice systems more effective and accountable’, especially on the improvement of Africa’s law enforcement and cross-border cooperation, the regional event aimed to build and reinforce cooperation framework between PFSOs, prosecutors and investigators to improve port security and safety of navigation in the region. 

Isac Armando Massalele, PFSO of the Port of Maputo, explains, ‘After this training with PFSOs, Investigators and Prosecutors, we have created a framework for cooperation in  combatting maritime and port-related crimes. All the stakeholders have their way of working on maritime crimes. For example, investigators must follow their procedures, and with the prosecutors, they have their own interpretation of maritime law. Moreover, on our side as a PFSOs, we must implement and follow the rules of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code mandates and IMO rules to ensure port security. With this regional event, we all now have an understanding of each other's roles, leading to better coordination to work together and end maritime crimes.’

During the closing remarks, Mrs. Stella Katondo from the Tanzania Ministry of Transport underlined that “knowledge is the light that leads to anything wonderful’, and she encouraged the participants to ‘share the knowledge they gained in Zanzibar with the National Maritime Security Committee of each country in order to ensure that our waters are safe.’

This regional joint exercise is part of the EU Funded Programme on Port Security and Safety of Navigation, a regional Programme under the coordination of the Indian Ocean Commission and jointly implemented by IMO, Interpol, and UNODC. This activity contributes to the attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 16 on Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions and Goal 17 on Partnerships for Goal, targeting to strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.


For more information, please contact:

Mr. David O’Connell (

Western Indian Ocean Programme Coordinator

Global Maritime Crime Programme

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Click here to visit the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme website.