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Officials from Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland said the best solution to combat piracy is to fight pirates on land and to support Puntland’s maritime police force, during an international anti-piracy meeting in Tokyo, Japan.
“We told the international community that the best, most effective anti-piracy solution is to support our local maritime police and to fight pirates on land,“ Mohamed Raage, Puntland’s minister of sea transport, told Somalia Report.
International delegates agreed to support Puntland's proposal.
“Japan promised to support our maritime police and train 200 of them. They also agreed to help develop Bososo port,” added Raage. Minister Raage added that Japan agreed to equip Puntland’s maritime police but did not divulge the details of what equipment would be provided. He told told Somalia Report that they hoped this project would begin early next year.
Although Japan does not currently have any direct projects in Puntland, they have been assisting the region through other humanitarian agencies.
“Japan has funded projects through international agencies such as the World Food Programme, but this new project will be with their direct assistance,” said the minister.
Delegations from Puntland, Djibouti, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, representatives from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), as well as observers from the United States and the European Union attended the meeting.
Puntland has been waging their own anti-piracy operations, establishing international anti-piracy agreements, and cracking down on pirates on land, but with limited funds, men, equipment, and boats, it has been slow-going.
The delegates issued a statement that they agreed to the following (unedited):
1. Shared the views that this type of gathering for States neighbouring Somalia and the State of Somalia itself is extremely valuable and useful.
2. Recognized that training courses which are being delivered by the Japan Coast Guard for technical assistance on human development, such as the course on maritime law enforcement, are effective and could be enhanced further.
3. Concurred that the information sharing by each State concerned is important for the effective anti-piracy measures and the establishment, with the support of IMO, of the ISCs in Kenya, Tanzania and Yemen, in accordance with the Djibouti Code of Conduct, is the significant first step for anti-piracy measures.
On the other hand, it was found that some focal points are not making full use of the shared information; it recognized, therefore, the needs for further human development in this field, making available expertise, for example, of the ReCAAP-ISC.
4. Expressed appreciation to the efforts of each State for counter piracy measures at the territorial waters and the areas further beyond. Each State is encouraged to carry out counter- piracy measures at, not only its territorial waters, but also EEZ and other high seas; for this reason, it recognized the importance of necessary supports such as capacity-building for human resource.
Noting the extremely limited sea-going assets in general in the region, it also recognized the effectiveness of the concept of the “embarked officers’ operations” in accordance with the Djibouti Code of Conduct, in which duly authorized law-enforcement officers embark on the patrol ships of other States or warships of their own State.
5. Recognized that a number of comprehensive supports by the international organizations such as UNODC and IMO for reviewing judicial system in States in the region taking into account each and every circumstances of individual State are in place, and concurred that States willing to assist these efforts should support these activities.
6. Recognized that coast guard agencies have been working efficiently and effectively in this field and that the necessity of sharing their best practices for the States wishing to enhance the coast guard functions.
7. The meeting recognized the needs for enhancing capabilities of maritime law-enforcement, for not only States surrounding Somalia, but the State of Somalia itself; hence the importance of the support from international community.
8. Recognized the needs to consider the possible establishment of the maritime crime analysis centre in the region.
9. Recognized the significance and importance of organizing this type of senior official level meetings periodically.