Maritime security: Conference in Seychelles focuses on IORIS platform's use
Fonseka said that this platform has supported many regional activities and exercises such as the American Cutlass Express. (Seychelles Nation)
Around 80 senior officials involved in maritime security from 20 countries in the Indian Ocean region are meeting in Seychelles to discuss how the Indo-Pacific Regional Information Sharing (IORIS) platform can be used to effectively respond to maritime threats.
During the two-day conference at the Seychelles Coast Guard auditorium, participants will also be looking at the challenges to maritime security in the Indian Ocean and how IORIS can support the coordination and decision-making process. Additionally, they will address maritime safety by looking at emergency prevention, preparedness and response.
IORIS - a neural and secure web-based communications tool - is a maritime operational coordination and communications platform that enhances inter-agency collaboration at national and regional levels. It is part of an EU-funded project known as the Critical Maritime Routes in the Indo Pacific (CRIMARIO) from 2015 to 2019.
During the conference, participants which include national and international agencies and organisations involved in maritime security will analyse the potential of the IORIS platform as a tool in the fight against maritime crime. These include terrorism at sea, port security, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing and maritime pollution.
The platform was launched in Seychelles in 2018 with the support of the Indian Ocean Commission and the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (REFLEC) and the Regional Centre for Regional Coordination (RCRC). The platform is already used by 19 national and regional maritime agencies from 12 countries and organisations in the Indo-Pacific regions.
In his address, Seychelles' Minister of Internal Affairs, Errol Fonseka, described the IORIS platform as being user-friendly and facilitating cooperation among its partners.
He said that it is only in making optimal use of such a platform that the region will be able to address maritime threats and "it has been done before in tackling piracy and it can be done again."
Fonseka said that this platform has supported many regional activities and exercises such as the American Cutlass Express.
The CRIMARIO project director Martin Cauchi Inglott pointed out in his address that every time one hears about information sharing, it is always regarding the need to do this, but the way to implement it is hardly ever brought up.
He said that with IORIS, CRIMARIO is addressing this factor and listed four of the many benefits of using it - one of which is that it does away with the need of developing such a tool at the cost of millions of euros for each country, or agency.
"We have one common system which all 40 countries can log into, both for national and regional information sharing," and added that it also harmonises communications using one common interface "because IORIS offers the common maritime operation a picture integrating communication, coordination and an underlying live surveillance functionality."
During the two days, participants will also have the opportunity to watch the platform in action, discuss how to enhance its functionalities, and how to address future threats.