Curbing pirate attacks: ECOWAS navy to patrol Gulf of Guinea

BY: Suleiman Mustapha
There are concerns about the rising spate of armed pirate attacks on the Gulf of Guinea
There are concerns about the rising spate of armed pirate attacks on the Gulf of Guinea

Ghana’s Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, has proposed the establishment of an ECOWAS joint naval assets to conduct regular patrols to protect commercial fishing vessels following increased armed pirates attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.

He has also proposed the setting up of a ‘Transit Corridors’ for ships from where West African countries can anchor for assistance.

Rear Admiral Adam Yakubu made the proposal at a meeting with his Nigerian counterpart, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, in Nigeria.

He said his trip to Nigeria was at the behest of Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to engage the Nigerian Navy on how to draft collective strategies to tackle the growing insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.

Abductions

“Since year 2020, the situation has not been good in the Gulf of Guinea,” the Ghana Navy Chief stated while noting that “last May, two Ghanaian vessels were attacked and 10 people abducted, with investigations still ongoing. Consequently, we are proposing an ECOWAS Naval Task Force and Joint Maritime Security Architecture to checkmate these threats. This was done in the past successfully during the ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues. We hope our navies will use this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward.”

Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, said the Gulf of Guinea was currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who took advantage of the limited capability of the navies in the region to secure the area.

Global trade

He added: “The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade. Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.”

Burden sharing

It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region.

Vice Admiral Gambo said he was hopeful that the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that was hinged on Cooperative Maritime Security Framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region.