During the past few days, between the 18 and 30 of September 2023, naval and coast guard officials from twelve countries participated in the Multinational Maritime Authority Exercise GALAPEX II-2023, with CRIMARIO II experts in support.

The exercise focused on addressing complex situation involving ships suspected of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing around Salinas and the Galapagos Islands.

The exercise involved some 700 sailors and observers from multiple participating countries, including vessels from the United States and Peru. It included maritime interdiction manoeuvres, management of rules of engagement (ROE), rules of use of force (RUF), Command and Control, using the ORION System developed by the Ecuadorian Naval Shipyards (ASTINAVE).

The exercise included maritime security, law enforcement and crisis management activities, training the Multinational Task Force to strengthen interoperability, communication protocols and capabilities between multinational forces.

To facilitate the coordination and exchange of information at sea, participating agencies used IORIS, the Indo-Pacific Information Sharing Platform.

The successful conclusion of the exercise demonstrated the willingness and commitment of participating agencies and governmental bodies to ensure for maritime safety and security and to improve the joint response to real-world emergencies in today’s complex world. At the same time, IORIS proved to be a reliable communications platform for interagency planning and coordination at the national level, facilitating exchange of information, to respond in a timely and effective manner to complex maritime incidents.

During their speeches, Division General-SP Luis Lara Jaramillo, Minister of National Defence and Rear Admiral Óscar Noboa Estrella, Commander of Naval Operations, underlined the importance of international cooperation to neutralise possible maritime threats: “It is important to mention that without information exchange and planning there cannot be a safe sea. For the Ecuadorian Navy, achieving this requires Naval Power since more than 80% of the commercial exchange in the world is carried out by sea.”

Martin Inglott Cauchi, CRIMARIO project director, stated that: “We appreciate the cooperation that is being strengthened between the Ecuadorian Navy and the EU-funded project CRIMARIO II. Through the exercise, we saw IORIS supporting live exercises with assets at sea also plugging into the system, for the secure exchange of information exchange and operational coordination; through our collective efforts, we can address maritime challenges together. Thanks go to the Ecuador Navy for trusting CRIMARIO and agreeing to join and fortify the IORIS Community.”

Charles-Michel Geurts, Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Ecuador, participated in the event and said: “In today’s challenging maritime environment, good cooperation between the relevant government agencies is key. Ecuador and the EU work together to increase maritime security cooperation, and projects such as CRIMARIO are instrumental in this regard. exercises like this one are extremely useful in building the necessary coordination capacity, and IORIS has proven to be a valuable collaborative tool.”