It is my pleasure to announce the launch of the European Union (EU) Critical Maritime Routes in the Indian Ocean II (CRIMARIO II)’ initiative, a project developed to support partner countries and organisations to secure sea lines of communication that are vital for international trade and prosperity.
CRIMARIO II continues the process begun by CRIMARIO I (2015 – 2019), which was originally established to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) through information sharing, training & capacity building in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. This was approached through the creation of an Information Sharing and Incident Management tool amongst others; and through an extensive programme of training in Maritime Data Processing (MDP) analysis and visualisation to strengthen regional maritime capabilities.
CRIMARIO II will build on the experience of CRIMARIO I by expanding its geographical scope towards South and Southeast Asia with a view to contributing to a safer and more secure maritime domain, through cross-sectoral, inter-agency and cross-regional cooperation. These objectives reflect the EU’s priority towards deepening security cooperation with its Asian partners taking into account shared maritime security interests.
Two interlinked areas of action have been identified and will be explored in cooperation with potential partners:
1 – Enhancing information exchange and analysis, and crisis/incident management (to be implemented in both Western Indian Ocean and Asian countries);
2 – Strengthening inter-agency maritime surveillance, policing, investigation and judiciary; and supporting States improve compliance and adherence with relevant international legal instruments and regional arrangements (to be implemented exclusively in South Asian and South East Asian countries).
The intention is to support partners in developing systems and mechanisms which improve MDA and/or facilitate the exchange of information. Capacity building and training in MDA and law enforcement will also be offered to partner countries and organisations, always with a view to promoting good governance and stability at sea.
A team of seven hand-picked experts has been selected to implement this initiative under my lead. We are:
• Team Leader: Martin Cauchi Inglott
• Strategic Advisor: Marianne Peron-Doise
• Component Manager – Information Sharing: David Nattrass
• Expert Information Sharing: Sérgio Bryton
• Component Manager – Law Enforcement and Capacity Building: Olivier Bézier
• Expert Law Enforcement and Capacity Building: Andrew Mallia
• Communication & Visibility Expert: Isabelle Gachie Vinson
• Monitoring and Evaluation Expert: Jean-Philippe Picquart.
Developed as part of the EU Critical Maritime Routes (CMR) Programme, CRIMARIO II is a four years EU funded project, with a budget of 7.5 M€. The implementing agency will be Expertise France.
Although some delay is anticipated due to COVID 19, the team is investing this time in liaising with partner countries and planning engagements in consultation with other regional actors in order to complement efforts where feasible and avoid duplication of initiatives, whilst offering possible solutions where gaps have been identified.