CRIMARIO-MASE: a win-win partnership

CRIMARIO-MASE: a win-win partnership

CRIMARIO-MASE: a win-win partnership

by 4 October 2018

Objectives of CRIMARIO

The EU project CRIMARIO, funded (5,5M€) by the Direction General of International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) of the European Commission within the Critical Maritimes Routes programme initiated in January 2015, is dedicated to the Western Indian Ocean.

1.1. – Its main goal for the region is to help the partner’s countries to enhance their maritime situational awareness in order to reinforce safety and security at sea and to protect the marine environment. This knowledge combines the fusion of diverse maritime data and its sharing between interested countries to help them to improve their control of what is happening off their coast.

For now, the partner’s countries are: Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles.

1.2. – The CRIMARIO means are divided in 3 types of actions which are complementary:

⇒ Disseminate train the trainers sessions as the best means to strengthen skills of the various administrations that are sending trainees and set up a competence network ;

⇒ Set up a maritime information sharing platform, a tool that allows partner’s countries to exchange their information and to conduct mutual operations through a real network of maritime partners;

⇒ Take part to the implementation of a maritime governance that promotes cooperation and a culture of information sharing by helping national policies and by validating a common policy by the community of the concerned States.

Of these 3 types of action, the last one is the most difficult to implement without a local base and without benefiting from the support of a regional body.

Implemented by Expertise France and a team of five high level experts, the end of the project is scheduled to end of 2019.

Objectives of MASE

2.1.- But in the Western Indian 0cean, another programme funded by the European Union (European Development Funds) up to 37,5M€ from 2013-2020, has a similar vocation to CRIMARIO : it is the Maritime Security regional programme (MASE) that aims to promote safety and security at sea for the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean countries (ESAO-IO). Under the coordination of IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority for Development), the project is divided into five parts, the first three which are led by IGAD, the EAC (East African Community) and the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa). The fourth and et fifth are led by the IOC (Indian Ocean Commission) and intended for «enhancing national and regional capacities for maritime security » and for « implementing a network of information sharing and coordination ».

2.2.- With the support of IOC, MASE has decided the creation of a Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) based in Madagascar and of a Regional Coordination Centre for Maritime Operations (RCOC) based in Seychelles : these two centres are set up and are crucial for securing maritime areas. MASE succeeded, after three years of discussions, to bring around the same table all of the countries and organizations from the Western Indian Ocean to take part to a ministerial meeting which resulted in Mauritius on the 29 of April 2018 in the historical signature by five countries (Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros and Djibouti) of two agreements, one on the sharing of maritime information and the other on the coordination of joint operations at sea. France should soon be the sixth signatory. These agreements expressed also the will of the littoral States to enhance their cooperation in the field of maritime security.

An effective collaboration

Far from being competitors in the same zone, CRIMARIO and MASE are partnered for the greatest benefit of the partners of the two projects and its main donor, the European Union. The two projects are concerned with effectively meeting the regional need of the partner States to master their maritime domain, in full complementarities and with dedication to durability and sustainability of the systems and capacities implemented.

3.1. – MASE brings its expertise in the field of governance and it is not the easiest! The IOC aegis not only brings institutional and political framework but a legitimacy that allows to reach concrete and decisive results to the region; we must emphasize the acceptance by a majority of littoral states of the need for partnership to be more effective in the knowledge of maritime flows, in the sharing of maritime information and in the fight against all kind of traffic at sea and damage to the Blue Economy.

3.2. – CRIMARIO brings its expertise in the field of capacity building following two directions: training the trainees and the maritime information sharing.

3.2.1. – Our flagship training is a train the trainer programme of almost six months, organized in two parts:

One entitled « Visualisation », is intended to give the trainees the necessary skills to collect , prioritize and organize the maritime information on a table, a graph or a map ;

This other entitled « Analysis », allows trainees to take a step back from the large amount of information and to have the right situation analysis to give the appropriate report to the decision-maker.

In 2017, our experts have thus trained 15 Malagasy and 10 Comorians from different administrations, notably the one working at the RMIFC. And for 2018, we are training in parallel 11 Seychellois (especially those arming the RCOC) and 6 Mauritians in Mahé, 17 Kenyans and 3 Malagasy in Mombasa.

During these formations, the trainees are evaluated at each step before going to the next one, with 3 sequences in « Visualisation » and 2 in « Analysis ». Some fail and leave with partial training; but those who go the end of the training will be good trainers.

Others training tailored made, requested by our partners, and are delivered as we did in 2018 for Malagasy and Comoros.

3.2.2. – CRIMARIO is also bringing its expertise in the field of maritime information sharing. The signature of the 29 of April 2018 agreements are timely for the delivery of the maritime information sharing platform IORIS (Indian Ocean Regional Information Sharing and Incident Management Network) initiated by CRIMARIO and whose the operational version has been delivered the 1st July 2018. This platform has started to equip the RMIFC located in Antananarivo and the RCOC in Mahé and some national centres from Kenya, Mauritius and Seychelles. This delivery is accompanied by a training of trainers in 3 stages which started both in English and French. The official inauguration of IORIS took place in Mahé on September 4th in presence of our partners and some littoral countries from Indian Ocean that could be interested by the system. Before the end of 2018, IORIS will also equip the national maritime monitoring centres of our partner’s countries.

3.4.- Under MASE ‘s aegis, documents have been signed in the margin of the ministerial meeting in order to elaborate the operating rules of the regional centres (RMIFC and RCOC) and to define the terms of reference of the liaison officers who are going to run these two centres. And in the continuity of the MASE/CRIMARIO cooperation, MASE asked CRIMARIO for the training of these International Liaison Officer (OLI) who are going to be deployed within these regional centres. The training will take place in 2019, as soon as MASE has made the official request and will have sent the document allowing it.


Despite their difference concerning the format, budget and institutional framework, MASE and CRIMARIO were able to enhance their complementarities and organize themselves for better governance to the benefit of the Indian Ocean.

It was therefore natural to associate them, in order for MASE as for CRIMARIO to optimize the expression of their expertise. This was done smoothly and the partners welcome this partnership which allows the action of the European Union to be favourably perceived by the countries of the region thanks to its coherence, its effectiveness and its search for sustainability.