Indian Ocean ports decide to step up activities


Member countries of the APIOI – Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion and Seychelles – met in Mamoudzou, Mayotte, from May 13-15, when Seychelles took over the post of treasurer after a year as chairman.

Now the association has gained momentum, the APIOI’s constitution has been amended to give the chairman, vice-chairman and treasurer a two-year mandate instead of one year, to ensure continuity and effectiveness in pursuing the set goals and action plan.

The APIOI decided at the meeting to step up its strategy over the next two years to increase port activities and boost its efforts, in collaboration with private stakeholders, to promote cruise ships – as was achieved last year at the Sea Trade Mediterranean fair in Venice.

A cruise ship in Port Victoria. Promotion of cruise ship holidays was in focus at the recent AGM of the APIOI

Emphasis will also be placed on creating and securing regional shipping lines and the exchange of cargo.

The debate on cruise ships focused on encouraging local partners to join forces under the umbrella of the APIOI and promote the region at the next Cruise Trade Fair in Hamburg from September 15-17.

Member countries were also encouraged to take part in the World Cruise Fair in Miami, USA, in 2010, and it was decided a better strategy to promote and attract superyacht activity in our region should be considered.

With the islands of the Indian Ocean assembled, the issue of piracy in the region was discussed at length as it is of growing concern and threatens the APIOI’s objectives.

It was agreed member countries should harmonise their efforts and look for immediate as well as long-term support from international institutions and foreign forces to help combat piracy.

During a public conference held in parallel to the AGM, fishing and cruise ship promotion were debated, the latter led by Lt Col Andre Ciseau, chief executive of the Seychelles Ports Authority.

In relation to fishing, the association confirmed there are 3,200 boats allowed to fish in the Indian Ocean, and the region is considered insufficiently regulated, despite the presence of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the body responsible for managing fish stocks.
It was noted that there is an overwhelming presence of boats from Asia in the Indian Ocean, with this fleet alone taking about 70% of the catch and European boats about 20%. The Indian Ocean islands benefit from less than 5% of the catch.

The association said it believes there should be more support for maintaining fish stocks for future generations and the Indian Ocean islands should benefit more from existing activities.
The APIOI needs to encourage more activities to take place in ports so as to enhance economic growth and bring more benefits to our islands, it added.

The association has mandated the newly appointed chairman, Alain Gaudin, and Lt Col Ciseau to present a paper to the secretary-general of the Indian Ocean Commission, Callixte d’Offay, for discussion at the next IOTC meeting under the chairmanship of Rondolph Payet, managing director of the Seychelles Fishing Authority.

The AGM was declared a success, and the APIOI is urging all stakeholders and partners, direct and indirect, to create new initiatives to derive the greatest economic benefit for ports, especially in the fields of tourism, fishing and logistics support for maritime activities.

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