A regional workshop organised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), in cooperation with the Government of Angola, was held in Luanda, Angola between March 24 and 27, to discuss the implementation of the Code of Conduct concerning the repression of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activities in West and Central Africa, through the establishment of the Inter-regional Coordination Centre (ICC), to be based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

“The workshop brought together senior officers from 18 countries at management level, who are responsible for maritime issues and are familiar with international maritime instruments, regional agreements, and their country’s policies on the maritime sector,” the IMO said in a statement posted on its website.

The ICC is expected to play a strategic role in enhancing maritime security in West Africa, where IMO is also targeting capacity-building efforts. The function of the ICC is to put in place a “permanent mechanism of national points of contact in order to foster cooperation and avoid duplication of efforts amongst the multitude of donors and initiatives,” the organisation said.

The ICC will therefore provide a means for establishing cooperation, coordination and communication between Member States of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) at the strategic level, including the exchange of information on maritime security issues, best practice and cooperation on capacity building, as well as contributing to countering piracy, armed robbery and other illicit activities at sea such as fisheries crime.