The Indian Ocean West (IOW) team of the Global Maritime Crime Program is based at the Regional Office for East Africa in Nairobi. The program has extensive experience and knowledge in supporting States in the region in the fight against maritime crime and is present in the following countries in the East Africa region: Angola, Comoros , Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Pakistan, Seychelles and Tanzania.
The IOW team is committed to supporting Member States, as part of its mandate, to strengthen cooperation at both the regional and international levels and to strengthen the capacities of Member States in the implementation of the law in order to fight against serious organized crime in the maritime domain. Regarding our areas of work, we have traditionally provided support to countries to fight transnational maritime crime along the criminal justice chain. This involves technical, material and infrastructural support for law enforcement, prosecution and detention. All interventions have a strong focus on regional cooperation and, under the mandate of its Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime (IOFMC), it provides a strong coordination and enforcement mechanism, covering thematic areas of intervention focused mainly, but not exclusively, on maritime drug trafficking, fishing-related crime and smuggling of coal from Somalia. The participation of 22 states in IOFMC activities is a clear indication that the Forum fills an important gap in the regional response to these types of crimes at sea. Here are some of our activities:
Law Enforcement: The programme builds the capacity and capability of maritime law enforcement agencies through training courses and full-time mentoring, which are tailored to the specific needs of counterparts. It also manages the Southern Route Partnership (SRP), which provides a coordinating platform for national drug enforcement agencies and international partners to identify priority areas and coordinate support to strengthen regional response. In addition, the programme provides support for information sharing through Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) capacity building, including the development of land-based technologies to improve the image of the MDA as well as capacity for targeting dark vessels and behavioral analysis.
Prosecution: the network of prosecutors, which is a cross-cutting pillar within the IOFMC, provides a framework for leading prosecutors from across the Indian Ocean region to meet, share knowledge, solve problems and discuss cooperative strategies for prosecuting maritime crimes, including piracy, heroin trafficking, human trafficking, human smuggling and wildlife trafficking. The forum includes relevant training on topics such as mutual legal assistance and the development of mock trials in order to provide a coherent and coordinated approach to prosecuting regional maritime drug trafficking. The forum also helps member states review their legal framework with a view to ratifying and incorporating relevant international conventions into their national law and mentoring programs.
Detention: The team has implemented a Violent Extremism Prevention (PEV) programme in Kenya and Somalia, and the main thematic areas of engagement focus on training and mentoring prison staff who deal with Violent Extremist Prisoners (VEP), the establishment of physical, procedural and dynamic security, the improvement of prisoner case management systems, rehabilitation and reintegration activities, including support for professional training, education and moderate religious education programmes (counter-narratives), as well as the implementation of a robust risk assessment tools to assess the risks of recidivism, recruitment and radicalization among prisoners. Previously, the programme had actively supported the prison management services that held convicted pirates, ensuring that the environment in which they were held complied with human rights and allowed for safe and secure detention.