Towards a better analysis of maritime data

By Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Mauriti

Ensuring law enforcement at sea and a peaceful exploitation of maritimeresources, requires among other things, a continuous analysis of maritime datacollected from various open sources, and sharing the data at regional level incoordination with the national agencies. Under EU CRIMARIO project, twenty-sixparticipants from Mauritius, and coastal countries of Indian Ocean (Comoros,Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, Yemen) had theopportunity to develop their skills in maritime data visualisation and analysis, andshare 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 andcontribute to those on the high seas. The exchange of information between theagencies involved in the maritime domain (Transport, Navy, Police, Environment,Customs, Fishery, etc.) is one of the key elements for improving this security, with theregional cooperation between neighbouring countries representing another key element.

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

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

The twenty-six participants, coming from different maritime agencies, received advancedpractical experience in utilising common IT tools, for extracting, visualising and analysingdata provided by AIS sources (AIS or Automatic Identification System is an automatictracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services for identifying and locatingvessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships, AIS base stations, andsatellites). The participants learned how to use QGIS, a free and open-source desktopgeographic 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 toidentify trends.Mauritius attendees belong to the National Coast Guard, while other participantsbelong to Information sharing centres established under the Djibouti Code of Conduct.

With this, the second practical training session provided under CRIMARIO project thisyear, 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 aboutnavigation in the Indian Ocean in year 2015.In addition, since piracy is currently suppressed in the region, it is necessary that theISCs provide an “operational added value” deepening their skills in the comprehensiveapproach of the maritime domain. Shared experience and development of a sharedrepertoire of tools and practise are a major element contributing to confidence buildingand 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 “theMombasa Protocol”, whose objective is to strengthen the existing cooperation instrument(the Djibouti Code of Conduct), set up the framework for a regional governance of thecentres of Djibouti and Yemen and propose a long term sustainability mechanism.

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