Towards a better analysis of maritime data

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Ensuring law enforcement at sea and a peaceful exploitation of maritime resources, requires among other things, a continuous analysis of maritime data collected from various open sources, and sharing the data at regional level in coordination with the national agencies. Under EU CRIMARIO project, twenty-six participants from Mauritius, and coastal countries of Indian Ocean (Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, Yemen) had the opportunity to develop their skills in maritime data visualisation and analysis, and share their experience.

Maritime data analysis: a shared motivation of attendees and trainers, Mombasa, April 2016.

For any State, it is important to ensure the maritime security and safety in its waters and contribute to those on the high seas. The exchange of information between the agencies involved in the maritime domain (Transport, Navy, Police, Environment, Customs, Fishery, etc.) is one of the key elements for improving this security, with the regional cooperation between neighbouring countries representing another key element.

This assessment is shared by the Coastal States of both the Indian Ocean and international partners, including the European Union who launched various projects including CRIMARIO (part of the Critical Maritime Routes programme) to promote the culture of maritime situational awareness with a focus on information sharing and capacity building in maritime data analysis. CRIMARIO is also supporting the regional initiatives, such as the Mombasa Protocol.

The training session, held from 25 to 29 April 2016 in Mombasa, is the second contribution of CRIMARIO to strengthen the regional know-how in maritime data analysis and sharing. This session is complementing the first one, organised earlier in February in Mombasa.

The twenty-six participants, coming from different maritime agencies, received advanced practical experience in utilising common IT tools, for extracting, visualising and analysing data provided by AIS sources (AIS or Automatic Identification System is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships, AIS base stations, and satellites). The participants learned how to use QGIS, a free and open-source desktop geographic information system (GIS) application that provides data viewing and editing.

They also train on analysis, using statistics and electronic spreadsheet.

They are now able to better visualise the maritime information, and conduct analysis to identify trends. Mauritius attendees belong to the National Coast Guard, while other participants belong to Information sharing centres established under the Djibouti Code of Conduct.

With this, the second practical training session provided under CRIMARIO project this year, they are deepening their knowledge in visualisation and analysis of maritime data.

They were trained using historical data on piracy of year 2012, and historical data about navigation in the Indian Ocean in year 2015. In addition, since piracy is currently suppressed in the region, it is necessary that the ISCs provide an “operational added value” deepening their skills in the comprehensive approach of the maritime domain. Shared experience and development of a shared repertoire of tools and practise are a major element contributing to confidence building and enhancement of a maritime security culture in the region

Mombasa protocol

Four countries, hosting centres related to Information Sharing and maritime training (Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Yemen), initiated a regional initiative known as “the Mombasa Protocol”, whose objective is to strengthen the existing cooperation instrument (the Djibouti Code of Conduct), set up the framework for a regional governance of the centres of Djibouti and Yemen and propose a long term sustainability mechanism.

Moreover the Mombasa Protocol is paving the way to conclude data sharing agreements amongst littoral states from IO Region encouraging them in the process of information sharing of data other than piracy. CRIMARIO is also supporting the Mombasa protocol as well as any other regional initiative or new mechanism facilitating information sharing and maritime situational awareness.