Maritime operations centres are designed to monitor their area of responsability and conduct operations at sea required by any given situation. In order to carry out this mission they must coordinate with other operations centres in their area, or in adjacent areas.
The Yaoundé Architecture (YA), as wished by the Heads of State and Government of Central and West Africa, aims to organize maritime security operations in the Gulf of Guinea, thanks to 27 national or multinational centres that will operate in coordination with each other. This coordination supports continuous information sharing and reliable channels of communication. To meet this goal, a web platform has been developed in partnership between the GoGIN project and YA officials, with European Union support.
This platform, called YARIS (Yaoundé Architecture Regional Information System), is ready for operational deployment in the maritime centres and will be implemented once centre staff are trained to use it in an operational context.
Training on YARIS has started remotely
A first basic training session was organized remotely in English from January 18 to 22, 2021, for the benefit of the Zone F Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre (MMCC / F) and the Maritime Operational Centres (MOC) of Ghana and The Gambia.
Participants were thus able to discover the range of functions offered by YARIS (portal, chat, log, mapping), and to understand the advantages it offers in terms of maritime situational awareness and its value in conducting operations at sea.
Commander Yussif Benning, Director of the ECOWAS MMCC/F, chaired this first session, led by a pool of mixed trainers (GoGIN and Yaoundé Architecture centres). He can testify that:
The introduction of the YARIS platform has become a ‘game changer’ in the sharing, coordination and exchange of actionable maritime information between Member States and other stakeholders.
He continues: “Unlike traditional platforms, the YARIS platform provides a more user friendly, precise and composite (chat, log, dynamic situational sharing and map) application in a singular system, making it more effective and efficient in preventing the distortion or downgrading of shared intelligence and information. YARIS practically gives its users a live feel of the operational environment as other users can simultaneously log in and monitor events that are unfolding offering the opportunity to act in operational situations in an expedited or swift manner. The introduction of YARIS will therefore significantly improve our collaborated efforts in information and intelligence sharing on a need to know basis, at the discretion of the entity or individual originating the situation information at local, zonal or regional levels of cooperation, coordination and collaboration.
Commander Benning concludes: “In a nutshell the launch of the YARIS will generate the collective synergy and mutual trust needed to support the interagency and intergovernmental fight against piracy, IUU, armed robbery and other trans-organised maritime crimes.”
Tailored coaching is starting in Ghana
In the coming weeks, tailor-made coaching will be delivered to the teams of each maritime operational centre, starting with the Ghana MOC and the MMCC Zone F (from February 15). This support will be provided by a pool of mixed trainers (GoGIN and Yaoundé Architecture centres).
Following this comprehensive training program, trained teams will be able to use the YARIS platform in their respective centres to ensure, on a daily basis, better maritime surveillance, the sharing of operational or institutional information and the effective coordination of joint operations when needed.