Middle EastPiracy

Coastguard training needed to prevent piracy in Indian Ocean

Dubai: Effective training and mentoring for coastguards in the Middle East and Africa is essential in order to have control over territorial waters and economic zones, according to maritime security company Maritime Asset Security & Training Ltd (MAST).

National coastguards will be key in providing a non-military approach to providing maritime security in territorial waters if Western governments cut defence spending that has contributed to a significant reduction in piracy in international waters such as the Indian Ocean, MAST says.

“There is still much to be done ashore if a resurgence of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean is to be prevented. Somalia remains a politically fragmented state and in places, the lack of governance, and law and order, means that the ‘pirate breeding grounds’ are still intact,” Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of MAST, said.

“There remains a paucity of multinational naval assets, which will be further affected by defence budget cuts in 2015 as states continue to identify savings in the wake of the global recession,” Richard Battrick, director of training, compliance and ordnance management at MAST, said in a statement.

“Non-military solutions such as national coastguard agencies require improved capabilities and capacities if they are to become a sustainable solution. An integrated approach, including international public-private cooperation to maintain border security and safeguard the maritime flank is the way forward.”

Coastguards need to be able to implement a “more sophisticated and layered application of maritime security”, Battrick said. This includes utilising and integrating both air and sea assets such as surface vessels, helicopters and fixed wing surveillance aircrafts.

Critical information also needs to be share among networked operations centres, he continued. [26/01/15]

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