Mauritius: A three-day national awareness workshop focusing on maritime security, organised by the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, in collaboration with the International Maritime Organization, under the Port Security and Safety for Navigation Project for Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, opened this morning at the Hennessy Park Hotel, in Ebène.
The Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Alan Ganoo; the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Sudheer Maudhoo; and other eminent personalities were present on occasion.
In his keynote address, Minister Maudhoo underlined that the maritime domain has emerged as a theatre for a new generation of challenges and urged greater cooperation among regional and international members to deal with the issue. He stressed the need to protect the fragile ecosystems within the territorial seas of the Republic of Mauritius from the increasing threat of international shipping activities.
According to him, the implementation of maritime security takes both knowledge and vigilance and is essential to enhance security enforcement without slowing down the timely flow of international commerce.
The Minister stressed that maritime security is best achieved by blending public and private maritime security activities on a global scale into an integrated effort that addresses all maritime threats.
Sudheer Maudhoo also recalled that our seas are by far the most important arteries for global trade, carrying over 95% of all goods, and Mauritius depends enormously on sea trade.
Our maxim, he stressed, is to ensure that Mauritius is and remains the most secure and reliable nation to trade with globally. He assured that the Government will always protect the country’s interests and those of its international partners by understanding how threats could arise along international trade routes or chokepoints, how they can be addressed and what their impact might be.
‘We will continue to support, defend and uphold the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and protect freedom of navigation’, he affirmed.
As for Minister Ganoo, he dwelt on the importance of maritime security, which includes port security and safety of navigation, given the high number and bigger sized vessels in our region. ‘We have to exercise a greater monitoring of our maritime zone and ensure the seaworthiness of vessels calling into our region to pre-empt any maritime incidents’, he stated.
The Foreign Affairs Minister highlighted that the establishment of a regional framework for port security and navigation safety remained high on Government’s agenda and assured that the Regional Policy on Ports Security and Safety of Navigation to be formulated by the Indian Ocean Commission will be endorsed at the Ministerial level.
Besides, the initiative of the International Maritime Organization will shed much light on the precise situation and help to provide input for the formulation of such a Regional Policy, added the Minister.
The present workshop, he said, comes at an opportune moment for us to take stock of our compliance with international maritime conventions dealing with maritime and port security and safety of navigation.