Between the 22 and the 25 of April, 22 agencies from 9 countries (Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius Mozambique, Reunion, Seychelles, Tanzania), including two Regional Centres (Regional Centres: RCOC Regional Coordination Operation Centre, RMIFC (Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre), and EUNAVFOR Atalanta participated in the Tabletop / command Post exercise “BALINN2024”.

Co-organised by CRIMARIO and the Indian Ocean Commission, the exercise was designed to be a dynamic and engaging simulation, to test and improve the regional maritime operational capabilities of the Indian Ocean region. Through detailed preparation, robust communication protocols, and strict adherence to legal frameworks, the exercise aimed to foster a cooperative environment that enhanced the response to maritime security threats.

During the exercise participants shared information on #IORIS, a communications platform for interagency planning and coordination at the national and regional level, which facilitates the gathering, analysis, and exchange of information to timely and efficiently support decision-making and actions at sea.

The exercise scenario focused on locating and identifying ships involved in the transportation of narcotics, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, Search and Rescue and how to respond to these challenges (i.e., interdiction, interception, handover, legal finish, etc.) and coordinate operations at sea, in the framework of the IOC regional agreements.

The TTX helped participants to practice the law of the sea, including article 17 of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

Moreover, they trained about interagency coordinated responses at national and regional level, refining tactics, techniques, and procedures in a controlled, simulated environment.

In the words of Martin Cauchi Inglott: “Essential in our line of business is the ability to communicate and coordinate effectively, so that we can conduct effective and efficient missions and operations, and this is precisely what the exercise targeted. A total of 11 scenarios were played in this exercise, over 2.5 days addressing the three main themes: people, drugs and IUU. I would like to congratulate all the agencies participating in the exercises for playing an essential role in it”.

In his closing remarks Raj Mohabeer, Indian Ocean Commission, underlined: “These exercises are extremely important to enhance cooperation among national and regional centres. I would like to thank all participating countries, the RMIFC, the RCOC, and EU CRIMARIO project for the good cooperation and for the success of this exercise which will contribute to strengthen maritime security in the region”.