The European Union (EU) will extend its Coordinated Maritime Presence (CMP) in the Gulf of Guinea to 2024. In addition, a new Maritime Area of Interest has been established in the North-Western Indian Ocean. The CMP is to tackle piracy and criminal activity at sea.

The European Council has applauded the initial achievements within the framework of the CMP pilot case in the Gulf of Guinea and has approved an extension to February 2024. According to the Council, the CMP has proven to be an effective and useful instrument, contributing to enhanced maritime security.

Also read: Downward trend in piracy incidents continues, but IMB urges caution

Indian Ocean

Building on this positive example, in its second set of conclusions, the Council has also decided to launch a CMP concept in the North-Western Indian Ocean by establishing a Maritime Area of Interest covering the maritime area from the Strait of Hormuz to the Southern Tropic and from the North of the Red Sea towards the centre of the Indian Ocean.

The implementation of the CMP concept in the North-Western Indian Ocean will complement both the EU’s and EU member states’ activities in the region, while respecting the mandate and chain of command of EUNAVFOR Operation ATALANTA.

ECSA welcomes extension

The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) says it welcomes the EU’s political commitment to the strengthening of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea and North-Western Indian Ocean. ECSA adds that the Gulf of Guinea remains a dangerous piracy hotspot and a challenging area of operation for vessels and their crews, despite the decrease in overall incident numbers in the past year.

Also read: International agreements must stop piracy Gulf of Guinea

The shipowners’ organisation hopes that the Coordinated Maritime Presence in the North-Western Indian Ocean improves coordination and synergies between the EU initiatives in the area and cooperation with regional and international actors.

‘The EU has shown leadership in being a frontrunner in addressing piracy in the North-Western Indian Ocean through successful initiatives such as Operation ATALANTA,’ says Luisa Puccio, ECSA’s Director for Shipping and Trade Policy. ‘The extension of the Coordinated Maritime Presence reiterates the commitment of the EU and the member states to enhance maritime security in key areas, and in particular in the Gulf of Guinea.’