EUCAP and CRIMARIO II organised a two-week training for members of Somali Police Force Department of Coast Guard, Somali Navy and Coast Guard and the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy. In total, 23 officers successfully completed the training on the IORIS platform. It makes them able to exchange and analyse information and jointly coordinate maritime operations.

The course, organised jointly by EUCAP and CRIMARIO II, enables the Somali maritime agencies to enhance their capabilities by using IORIS. Now they can connect their colleagues from the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) and the Somali Maritime Administration and Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre to routinely exchange information and jointly plan maritime operations. Furthermore, IORIS enables them to coordinate directly with colleagues throughout the Horn of Africa, Gulf of Aden and the wider North-West Indian Ocean, including EUNAVFOR OP ATALANTA.

Somali Maritime Agencies need to be able to see what is happening in their own Seas. The history of the effects of piracy off the coast of Somalia is well known. The platform can detect illegal fishing, smuggling, piracy and other illicit maritime activity. IORIS document and record functions can also be used to support judicial investigations. Furthermore, it helps the authorities to develop internal structures and organisational policies, as IORIS provides the necessary document management tools.

“Since March 2023, extended IORIS training has been provided to the staff of the Somali Maritime Administration (SMA) with the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) and Somaliland Coast Guard. This training to the Mogadishu-based agencies brings together officers and staff of the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy, the Somali Navy and Coast Guard, and the Somali Police Force Department of Coast Guard,” says IORIS Instructor Mr Andrew Lyttle.

He has a long career in law enforcement and maritime sector tasks, including four years in EUCAP as Senior Capabilities Officer and Senior Strategic Maritime Advisor.

After completing the intensive training, Mr Lyttle is happy with the outcome of the course: “The spirit among the participants was excellent, and all of those who signed up also managed to graduate. To partake in this training, the participants were required to develop many key competencies which EUCAP and other Somalia and international agencies have supported. The success of having 23 staff members and officers directly benefit from this type of technology, which requires pre-entry knowledge of maritime matters, speaks well on collective development.

I see this course also beneficial for the European Union, since enhancing safety and security in the busy waters of Somalia region provides direct mutual gain for all”. Mr. Little concluded.

Among the participants was Mr Abdiaziz Ismail, Director of Fisheries Management and Monitor, Control and Surveillance Department in the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to attend this training. I have never used IORIS before, and it is a new platform for the Ministry and much better than the system we used before. I see this as a huge improvement for our capability to struggle, for example, illegal fishing and other maritime crimes”, says Director Abdiaziz.

“The content and the progress have also been very satisfactory. The trainer has been great, the subject is interesting, and the participants are motivated,” he concludes.

Senior Lieutenant Ayub Mohamed Nur, Chief of CIS (Computer and Information System) in the Somali Police Force Department of Coast Guard, added: “As a CIS Officer, I already have some previous experience in IORIS, but my colleagues don’t. I have got some training in Djibouti, and after this more thorough course, I will get full access to the system, he smiles. When implementing the IORIS platform, the Coast Guard and other authorities will have better situational awareness and improve information-sharing. For example, a couple of months ago, a Somali fishing boat was detained by a neighbouring country’s coast guard because they mistakenly regarded them as pirates. Sorting out this kind of misunderstanding will be much easier and faster once the new platform will be implemented.”

In the words of Second Lieutenant Ridwaan Ibrahim Abdullahi, from the Somali Navy and Coast Guard: “IORIS was a new system to me. I like it, it is suitable for information sharing also with other agencies and locations. During the course, we already had real-life training by searching for a boat in Puntland waters. EUNAVFOR shared information with us, and PMPF, tells Lieutenant Abdullahi.

Previously, information sharing was much slower, and we used fishermen and sailors as sources, for example. Now, we have a real-time online system at our disposal. As a training officer, my task is to share the knowledge I have gained here with my colleagues in the Somali Navy and Coast Guard.”