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India joins Djibouti Code of Conduct as Observer

The Jeddah Amendment emphasises on the important role of “blue economy" in supporting sustainable economic growth, employment, food security, prosperity and stability.

Sep 16, 2020 19:24 IST
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India has joined the Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment as Observer following the high-level virtual meeting of the Djibouti Code of Conduct/Jeddah Amendment (DCOC/JA) on August 26, 2020. This was informed by the Ministry of External Affairs.

The External Affairs Ministry stated that India looks forward to working together with DCOC/JA member states towards coordinating and contributing to enhanced maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.

The DCOC/JA is a grouping on maritime matters comprising 19 member states adjoining the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, the East Coast of Africa and Island countries in the Indian Ocean Region. India has joined Japan, Norway, the UK and the US as Observers to the DCOC/JA.

DCOC/JA Member Nations

The DCOC/JA Member Nations include Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt, Jordan, Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Maldives, Madagascar, Mozambique, Mauritius, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Somalia, Seychelles, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen.

What is Djibouti Code of Conduct?

The Djibouti Code of Conduct is a regional maritime security cooperation agreement establised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 2008.

Objective

The Djibouti Code of Conduct was initially focused on piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Western Indian Ocean Region, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. It was later extended to cover environmental issues as well in 2017.

Key Details 

Under the code of conduct, the signatory nations agreed to co-operate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships.

In particular, the signatories to the Code agreed to co-operate in:

(a) The investigation, arrest and prosecution of persons reasonably suspected of having committed acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, including those inciting or intentionally facilitating such acts.

(b) The interception and seizure of suspect ships and property aboard such ships.

(c) The rescue of persons, ships and property subjected to piracy and armed robbery. Facilitation of proper care, treatment and repatriation of the fishermen, seafarers and other personnel and passengers aboard the ship subject to such acts.

(d) The conduct of shared operations among signatory States as well as and with the naval forces of countries outside the region – such as nominating law enforcement or other authorized officials to embark on patrol ships/aircraft of another signatory.

What is the Jeddah Amendment?

In a high-level meeting of the signatories countries of the Djibouti Code of Conduct in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in January 2017, all signatory nations agreed to adopt a revised code of conduct- Jeddah Amendment. The revised code of conduct is referred to as Jeddah Amendment to DCOC 2017.

Under the revised Code of Conduct, the participant nations agreed to work together with the support of IMO and other stakeholders, to build national and regional capacity to address wider maritime security issues to enable the sustainable development of the maritime sector. 

Role of Blue Economy 

The Jeddah Amendment emphasises on the important role of “blue economy" in supporting sustainable economic growth, employment, food security, prosperity and stability. Blue includes shipping, seafaring, fisheries and tourism.

Under the revised code, the participants agreed to develop and implement a national strategy for the development of the maritime sector and a sustainable “blue economy”, which enables generation of stability, employment and revenue.

Curbing Piracy and Illegal Maritime Activities

The Jeddah Amendment builds on the earlier Code adopted in 2009 and calls on the signatory States to cooperate to the fullest possible extent to repress transnational organized crime maritime domains such as illegal and unregulated fishing, maritime terrorism and other illegal activities at sea.

Under the Jeddah Amendment, the signatory states agreed to cooperate in the following aspects:

Information sharing

Interdicting ships or aircraft suspected of engaging in such crimes

Ensuring persons committing or intending to commit such illicit activity are apprehended and prosecuted

Facilitating proper care, treatment, and repatriation of maritime crime victims.  

What is transnational organized crime?

The transnational organized crime referred to in the Jeddah Amendment includes arms trafficking, trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances, human trafficking and smuggling, illegal trade in wildlife; crude oil theft and illegal dumping of toxic waste.