Maritime crimes such as piracy, armed robbery at sea, kidnapping for ransom, illegal fishing and hijackings among others are recurrent along the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), making it the most dangerous shipping route in the world presently.
Data show that crew kidnappings increased more than fifty percent from 78 in 2018 to 121 in 2019, with over ninety percent of global crew kidnappings reported at sea in 2019 occurring in the GoG.
Aside posing as a threat to international and regional shipping, it further undermines the security and development of the Gulf of Guinea littoral states.
To contribute to tackling this menace, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in partnership with the Government of Denmark is organizing the ‘Developing Maritime Security Culture in the Gulf of Guinea’ course.
With participants drawn from the Navy, Judiciary, Marine Police, Fisheries Commission, private shipping companies and civil society organizations, to mention a few, the course aims to contribute to improving security in the GoG by enhancing collaboration and cooperation among agencies responsible for maritime security in Ghana.
The course, which will be rolled out in five phases, will be held in Accra, Cotonou and Lagos in 2020 and 2021, beginning in Takoradi from Monday, October 26 to Friday, November 6.
It will cover topics such as legal and policy frameworks on maritime security, maritime security threat response in the Gulf of Guinea, mapping maritime security actors, gaps in maritime security architecture in the GoG, state action at sea (i.e. national maritime security committees), managing relationships and inter-agency collaboration, maritime intelligence, information sharing and management and incidence reporting mechanisms in the Gulf of Guinea, among others.
Aside the exposure to theoretical underpinnings, participants will have simulation sessions during the training to acquaint them with skills to manage real life situations.
Additionally, a panel discussion will be held with speakers from both the formal and informal maritime sectors.
The recommendations from these discussions is expected to contribute to the efforts in enhancing an intimate working relationship among maritime actors.
The remarkable and invaluable support of the Government of Denmark to maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is worthy of mention and commendation.
Beginning with their co-funding of the EU-led GoGIN-program from 2015-2018, they have also initiated a dedicated Danish Maritime Security Programme from 2019 to 2021.
The results of these interventions have been the coordination of activities of Gulf of Guinea countries in ECOWAS and ECCAS for effective knowledge sharing andcollaboration through research and capacity building of maritime actors.
Thus, Danish Government is fully committed to increasing safety and security of national and international ships in the Gulf of Guinea, and to securing peace in West Africa and the continent as a whole.