Dar es Salaam (United Republic of Tanzania), 4 March 2022 – Patrol vessels are key to the operations of agencies enforcing the law at sea, yet inadequate maintenance directly affects their ability to operate. To help address this situation, the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) brought together operational and maintenance personnel from Western Indian Ocean maritime law enforcement agencies to listen to experts from counterpart agencies in Latin America, at an event in Dar es Salaam.
The lead presenters from Colombia, Ecuador and Panama were invited to discuss the organization, planning and budgeting required for effective maintenance programmes in the maritime law enforcement sector. Participants included representatives from the coast guard or marine police of Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and United Republic of Tanzania.
This exchange between the two regions was the first of its kind and provided valuable perspectives. The three Latin American countries face a tropical climate and range of maritime threats similar to those found in the Indian Ocean, and have overcome significant challenges in maritime maintenance in recent years, despite budgetary restraints that are also common around the Indian Ocean.
Due to these similarities, the past experience from Latin America offered insights to Indian Ocean countries in addressing their current maintenance challenges. Lieutenant Amirdine Mze Hamadi of the Coast Guard of Comoros commended the Latin American participation: “They were very professional and helped shape our understanding of what maintenance means for us all. It was beneficial for us to exchange ideas and share our experiences, and the interpretation and support provided ensured that we could all participate and understand.”
By highlighting how successful practices from Latin America might be applied in the Indian Ocean, the discussions also provided useful insights to help guide the development of future UNODC maritime law enforcement maintenance capacity-building. According to David O’Connell, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, UNODC: “There is a tendency to focus on mission-specific training and capacity-building without focusing first on the enabling skills, such as navigation, boat handling, communications, and even before that, foundational skills like maintenance.”
GMCP contributes to Sustainable Development Goals 14, 16 and 17 by supporting Member States combat maritime crimes by strengthening the criminal justice chain. Previous to this skills development event, a UNODC maintenance expert undertook a series of visits to Indian Ocean countries, which suggested that maintenance was underemphasized in the region.
** *** **
This activity was made possible with the support of the Government of Japan.
** *** **