The EU will provide some €37 million to strengthen the fight against piracy in several Eastern and Southern African countries through support for the Programme to promote Regional Maritime Security (MASE). In the past decade, the level of maritime insecurity in the region’s waters has become the highest in the world, undermining development and affecting the wellbeing of millions of people.
The EU has been present in the region already since 2008 to address the deteriorating situation and to harden ships against attack. Thanks to these efforts piracy has decreased from 299 attacks in 2011 to 111 in 2012 (a reduction of over 62%), while the number of hijackings dropped from 25 to 12. So far, attacks remain at this low level in 2013. Yet the situation remains reversible. « This new European support marks a step forward in the fight against piracy because it demonstrates the EU’s on-going commitment to combatting this complex problem. Strengthening security in the maritime routes is crucial for us because it will help boosting trade and growth in the region, which would enormously improve people’s lives. » said Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
The new programme will help to develop the legal and judicial system of countries in the region, so that they are better equipped for the arrest and transfer of pirates. Financial oversight systems will also be strengthened, by providing training for the authorities to prevent the movement of funds contributing to, or resulting from piracy. Capacity-building (for example, sharing expertise and implementing training), and providing material logistic support on security, will help to improve surveillance and patrol of the coastline.