On 7 October, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Flemish Institute for the Sea (VLIZ) and its Ecuadorian counterpart Dirección Intereses Generales Maritimos (DIGEIM) was signed. The signing took place simultaneously in Quito and Bruges by Admiral John Mello and VLIZ chairman Carl de Caluwé.
VLIZ and DIGEIM have been working together since 2008, mainly through UNESCO projects. The "Decade of Ocean Science" of UNESCO (2021 - 2030) and the importance of the sustainable protection of ocean life, encouraged the research institutes to intensify the cooperation through their own MoU.
The Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Gallegos, indicated in a video message the importance of the cooperation with VLIZ for DIGEIM. Chairman De Caluwé stressed that "despite the great distance in sea miles, the ocean connects Flanders and Ecuador in many ways".