Commit to maritime security

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
•  Participants after the opening session of the workshop on Maritime Security in Accra

The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo, has called on African leaders to show strong commitment to maritime security.

He said African leaders must be ready to provide the necessary financial and human resource towards the development of an integrated maritime strategy.

Addressing the opening session of a three-day workshop on maritime security in Accra yesterday, the Navy Chief said, “It also requires a high level of coordination and cooperation and agreements, allowing member states to pursue criminals across maritime territorial boundaries.’’

The event, organised by the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation and the United States African Command, is being attended by 50 security experts from 12 African countries.

Rear Admiral Faidoo said national, bilateral and international actions in tackling maritime security issues such as piracy and illegal migration would be more effective if they “fit into an interstate region–wide strategy for maritime security’’.

Maritime security

Emphasising the contribution of maritime transport to economic development, the Chief of Naval Staff stressed that insecurity in the system would be counter-productive

“A good number of countries from the Gulf of Guinea are oil producers and the region is expected to become one of the world’s major suppliers of energy. Therefore, if the region faces unrest, it will create shocks in the global economy, in addition to becoming a vector for violence and a potential haven for terror,’’ he said.

Rear Admiral Faidoo said the Gulf of Guinea had been identified by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) as a top piracy hotspot in the world.

Therefore, he cautioned that if mechanisms were not put in place to protect the oil fields and shipping routes, such criminal activities could be perpetrated on a much broader scale.

Maritime strategy

For his part, the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert P. Jackson, said in order for a maritime security strategy to be effective, it had to be clear with definite roles for the various implementing bodies, adding that such a strategy would have to cut across ministries and agencies to coordinate efforts.