Piracy, robbery reduce in Gulf of Guinea

Piracy and robbery attacks in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) have reduced over the last three years, says Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Kwaku Am­pratwum-Sarpong.

From 68 cases in 2020, it came down to 18 in 2021, again went down to 15 cases last year and fur­ther down by five cases in the first quarter of this year.

Mr Ampratwum-Sarpong who disclosed these at the opening of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stake­holder meeting on maritime safety and security in Accra yesterday, attributed the feat to collaboration and coordination between GoG states and their national maritime authorities.

The three-day meeting aims to strengthen coordination and collaboration between stakeholders for full operationalisation of the ECOWAS maritime security archi­tecture designed to combat illicit maritime activities in the region.

It is being attended by par­ticipants made up of mid- and high-level government officials, military personnel and civilians from Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivo­ire, Benin and Sierra Leone.

Mr Ampratwum-Sarpong said so far, ECOWAS member states had done well in implementing the pillars of the second maritime strategy which advocated a safe and secure maritime domain.

“Since the adoption of the ECOWAS Maritime Strategy (SMIC) in 2014, significant prog­ress had been made in strengthen­ing maritime surveillance, ensuring the safety and security of maritime areas and promoting better man­agement of the maritime environ­ment,” he said.

However, Mr Ampratwum-Sar­pong said ECOWAS Member States should not rest on their oars, but they should work towards overcoming obstacles, hindering the full potential of the maritime security architecture.

These challenges, he said, includ­ed inadequate staffing, insufficient equipment, unpredictable financ­ing, the non-binding nature of the young architecture on member states, and the limited interface of the system which did not display and track vessels of interests be­yond the GoG region.

The ECOWAS Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Se­curity, Abdel-Fatau Musah, said his outfit was committed to maritime safety, and it would provide the needed support to achieve the goal.

He called for stronger collabora­tion, coordination and the pooling of resources for collective security, and safety to enhance their work and consolidate the gains made in the GoG.

In order to gain the support and participation of the citizenry of the respective countries, he called for enhanced civil society aware­ness on ways to tackle threats to maritime security.



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