UN Official Inaugurates Anti-piracy Information Centre in Kenya

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–31 March 2011 – The head of the United Nations maritime agency today in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa commissioned the first of three planned information-sharing centres designed to help fight the growing scourge of piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

The centre in Mombasa, which was opened by Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, the Secretary-General of the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO), is co-housed with the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), which operates on a 24-hour basis and covers extensive areas of the western Indian Ocean.

The centres are being established under the Djibouti Code of Conduct on the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, the maritime regions most affected by pirates who set off from Somalia.

The code of conduct, which took effect in 2009, is designed to strengthen cooperation in the fight against piracy. It provides for the creation of the three information centres in Mombasa, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Sana’a in Yemen, as well as a training centre for anti-piracy units in Djibouti. It also calls for States in the region to make the necessary changes in their legislations to facilitate the arrest and prosecution of piracy suspects.

The information-sharing centres will ensure coordinated, timely, and effective flow of information, according to IMO. They will be capable of receiving and responding to alerts and requests for information or assistance at all times.

Countries reporting to the Mombasa centre include the Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius, Kenya and, at a later date, Somalia. The centre will exchange information on the movement of pirates with the centres to be established in Sana’a and Dar es Salaam, as well as with European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR), the United Kingdom’s Maritime Trade Operations and the Maritime Liaison Office in Bahrain.

Speaking to staff at the Mombasa centre, Mr. Mitropoulos paid tribute to their services in the search and rescue efforts, and expressed hope that they will be equally successful in discharging their responsibilities under the piracy assignment to them.