CRIMARIO II organised a workshop (9-13 Oct 2023) to test the effectiveness of the IORIS Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), developed to enhance maritime security and safety in the Indo-Pacific region.

During the course IORIS, the neutral and secure maritime information-exchange platform was used. The tool provides centres, organisations, and agencies with means to plan and coordinate maritime operations in the Indo-Pacific region.

The event comprised a three-day course on the Regional IORIS SOP for the Indo-Pacific (RISIP), designed to equip attendees with skills, best practices, and knowledge to deal with the plethora of complex challenges affecting the ever-evolving maritime domain. During the event, participants discussed adopting standardised procedures and language within the Indo-Pacific region to enhance information exchange and operational coordination and to share best practices related to maritime incidents on IORIS.

At the end of the course, a two-day CRIMARIO tabletop exercise named “Watchful Eye” was hosted on IORIS, with experts and stakeholders from across the maritime community, to strengthen maritime security and safety cooperation at the national and regional level. During the exercise, the Regional IORIS Standard Operating Procedures for the Indo-Pacific presented during previous days were tested and evaluated, with scenarios based on narcotics trafficking and search and rescue.

Speaking during the opening event, Kiruja Micheni, Project Manager, Djibouti Code of Conduct/Jedda Amendment (DCoC/JA) International Maritime Organisation, declared: “I extend my gratitude to our hosts, CRIMARIO II, for championing MDA awareness and capacity building in the region. Your generosity and gracious support to the DCoC/JA cannot be left unmentioned and is highly appreciated as we have become great partners in the journey towards implementation of the DCoC/JA.”

Louis Dey, Regional focal point for the EU’s Global Threats and Challenges programme at the European Delegation in Kenya, added: “In an era where our seas and oceans play a pivotal role in global trade and security, it is imperative that we work together effectively. By sharing information and best practices, we enhance our collective ability to respond to maritime challenges, be it in the form of piracy, illegal fishing, or environmental threats. I would like to commend all the participants for their commitment to this cause. Your presence here reflects your dedication to improving our region’s maritime security and safety.”

Opening the exercise, Graham Harrison, from the UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme, said: “The transnational organised crime of narcotic smuggling in this region is destroying our societies. … Exercise WATCHFUL EYE will test our capability to provide quick and accurate transfer of information to regional and national maritime information sharing centres, to be further actioned by State, regional or international forces, to halt and pursue legal finish. ”

Dave Natrass, CRIMARIO II Deputy Director, added: “Through CRIMARIO II and the IORIS platform, which was designed in collaboration with regional partners, we are now able to provide enhanced operational capability for DCoC/JA Signatory States, their centres and their counterparts in the Pacific region, and we continue to work in close synergy as we go forward and strive to meet your needs and expectations.”

To conclude, participants in both activities, including 30 officials from 15 DCoC/JA partner countries and some observers, were guided on how different types of information could and should be shared amongst agencies and regional partners and when, according to IORIS protocols. The final objective was to enhance operations at sea and support the monitoring and reporting of suspicious and precarious vessel movements.