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Engineering News: Real economies of African countries hit by piracy

To help fight piracy, three subregional information sharing centres (ISCs) have been created, in Yemen, Kenya and Tanzania.
14.04.12 | Interesting article at Engineering News

Somali piracy is having a real economic impact on countries, especially those located in the north west Indian Ocean region. The problem does not only affect the shipping industry.

"The impact of piracy is stronger the nearer you get to Somalia," the International Maritime Organisation's Djibouti Code of Conduct Implementation Unit head, Captain Philip Holihead told Engineering News Online on Friday.

"The Kenyans have gone from 13 to 14 cruise ships a year going into Mombasa, to zero."

The Seychelles, whose economy is derived almost entirely from the maritime domain, is one of the few Indian Ocean countries to try and quantify the impact of piracy on its economy.

"The Seychelles believes that piracy cut their GDP [gross domestic product] by 8%, at the height of the problem," he reported.

Worldwide, the cost of piracy has been estimated at between $7-billion and $12-billion, although this includes the costs of naval and air patrols used to counter piracy (some of these patrols would have taken place anyway, even without piracy). Holihead opined that the cost would be around $7-billion.

In his address to the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in Cape Town on Friday, Holihead also pointed out that piracy had increased transport costs and so increased prices, and caused declines in tourism and trade. It had further created concerns about the safety of fishing and offshore oil exploration.

The Djibouti Code is officially entitled the Code of Conduct for the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean, and was adopted in Djibouti on January 29, 2009.

"It has 21 participating States, of which 18 are signatory States," he stated. "It is a non-binding agreement. It is the only code of conduct to counter piracy."

The member countries of the Djibouti Code speak four different languages and have three different legal systems. The Somali Transitional Federal Government is a member, and South Africa and Mozambique are likely to become signatory members later this year.

To help fight piracy, three subregional information sharing centres (ISCs) have been created, in Sana'a (Yemen), Mombasa (Kenya) and Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania). The Sana'a ISC covers Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and the de facto States of Somaliland and Puntland. The Mombasa ISC covers Kenya, south and central Somalia, the Seychelles, the Maldives and Mauritius. The Dar-es-Salaam ISC covers Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, the Comoros, Reunion and South Africa.

Holihead stressed the importance if information sharing within countries as well as between countries and highlighted Tanzania's success in developing domestic interagency cooperation. "It's working well."