The three- day event will enable key stakeholders of the maritime world to express, present and discuss current issues related to the threats posed by piracy and initiatives necessary to combat it.
The Mauritian Minister for Foreign Affairs who chairs the contact group, Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo called for concerted efforts and long term solution to address piracy off the coast of Somalia.
“The time is ripe to explore long-term solution to the piracy crisis in Somalia and momentum will be sustained if we prioritize investment in community livelihood projects and strengthening of maritime security through enhanced policing,” said Lutchmeenaraidoo.
At the end of the plenary session, a common declaration in the form of a communiqué will be adapted by the assembly.
The communiqué considered as a roadmap will indicate the way forward to deter piracy threats off the coast of Somalia and other related threats in the Western Indian Ocean.
According to Oceans Beyond Piracy’s (OBP) State of Maritime Piracy Report (2017), incidents of sea robbery in the East African coast alone doubled from 27 in 2016 to 54 in the year under review.
OBP reported a similar trend for seafarers exposed to piracy threats from 545 in 2016, to 1,102 in 2017.
Along the West African coast, there were 97 incidents in 2017 compared to 95 in 2016, according to OBP.
The study reported a total of 21 kidnappings, thrice the number reported in 2016.
According to the report, 100 seafarers were taken hostage, 90 of them held for more than a day compared to only 56 in 2016.
Two killings were reported.
OBP was formed in 2010 in response to the escalating piracy crisis off the Somali coast and throughout the Western Indian Ocean region.