By Fauxile Kibet
Somalia has agreed to an intelligence sharing deal with six countries bordering the Indian Ocean but is yet to append its signature to the deal.
The agreement which was signed Wednesday by Kenya, France, Madagascar, Seychelles and Djibouti seeks to bolster security in the Indian Ocean waters and curb illegal fishing and other aspects of illegal trade and terrorism .
On Wednesday, Kenya announced that it had signed the deal with France, Madagascar, Seychelles and Djibouti, a few days after Nairobi announced the launch of its first ever Cast Guard Service.
“Yesterday, we joined the group of nations within the Western Indian Ocean who are interested in sharing information on their maritime domain,” Kenya’s Defence secretary, Raychelle Omamo said yesterday on the sidelines of the Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi.
The agreement according to the Cabinet Secretary is intended to strengthen maritime security in the vast ocean prone to movement of narcotics and contraband goods as well as illegal fishing
Tanzania and Somalia are yet to sign the deal.
Speaking during the just concluded Blue Economy Conference which brought together representatives from 184 countries, President Mohamed Farmaajo said sustainable exploitation of the blue economy is dependent on security.
“As we discuss the potential for a sustainable blue economy, and the need for investment and industrial flows, it is imperative that we first address all illegal activities along our coastlines,” Farmaajo said.
“Unsanctioned exploitation of our marine resources by foreign fishing fleets; illegal charcoal trade to foreign markets; and dumping of toxic waste, have become some of the most serious environmental challenges affecting the Somali coast.”
According to the Indian Ocean Commission, $400 million is lost annually as a result of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.