During a field visit, SafeSeas directors, Christian Bueger and Tim Edmunds, visited the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). They met with the secretary general of the organization, H.E. Prof Vêlayoudom Marimoutou, as well as Raj Mohabeer, commissioner in charge of maritime security.
The discussions firstly focused on the current state of political affairs in the Western Indian Ocean, concerning maritime security institutions, capacity building initiatives but also the growing geopolitical tensions in the region. We introduced some of our current research findings from the region, including articles from 2022 on the militarization of the region, the consequences of Indo-Pacific thinking for small island states and insights from our forthcoming book.
Another key issue on the agenda was how the SafeSeas network can support the work of the IOC, in particular in the framework of the MASE program, which aims to enhance maritime domain awareness and operational coordination in the region to respond to maritime security threats, but also problems such as fishery control and pollution from the shipping industry. We discussed the importance of expertise and awareness raising for the IOC work, but also the need to grow local expertise through research, training and education.