IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, in Kenya for the spring session of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, today (31 March) commissioned, in Mombasa, the first of three information-sharing centres (ISCs) envisaged by the Djibouti Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

The other two centres, envisaged to operate under the same Code, are those established in Dar es Salam, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Sana'a, Yemen. The centres have been established to facilitate practical measures for the suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships, by ensuring the coordinated, timely, and effective flow of information. It is intended that the ISCs should be capable of receiving and responding to alerts and requests for information or assistance at all times.

The Mombasa ISC will be co-housed with the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), which operates on a 24-hour basis and covers extensive areas of the western Indian Ocean (including the Seychelles). It was commissioned by Mr. Mitropoulos in 2006.

The Mombasa MRCC and the Dar es Salaam MRCC sub-centre (the latter was commissioned in 2009) are already sharing basic information for the purpose of the Djibouti Code of Conduct, using existing infrastructures, but full operational capability as ISCs will enhance their capacity to discharge their duties under the Djibouti Code of Conduct and contribute to efforts to suppress piracy in the region.

Countries reporting to the Mombasa ISC include the Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius, Kenya and later on Somalia. The Centre will exchange information on the movement of pirates with the Sana'a and Dar es Salaam Centres as well as with European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR), UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and the Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO) Bahrain.

Speaking to the staff of the Mombasa ISC, Mr. Mitropoulos paid tribute to their services on search and rescue and expressed the hope that they will be equally successful in discharging their responsibilities under the piracy assignment to them. He also thanked the Government of Kenya for its support to the Centre and co-operation in the accomplishment of its objectives.

He considered the establishment of the three information-sharing centres as an important component of the action plan in the context of this year's World Maritime Day theme "Piracy: Orchestrating the response".