Ghana Navy Leads Crime Combating Initiative In West Africa

19

Mar 2015

The Ghana Navy, in collaboration with the International Quality and Productivity Centre, has initiated steps aimed at dealing

with increasing maritime crime and other crimes that have assumed alarming proportions along the Gulf of Guinea.

 

The Navy has, in that direction, been organising Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Conferences and International Defence Exhibitions to help the naval forces in West Africa share and harmonise to stem criminal activities.

Addressing participants at the Second Edition of the Coastal and Surveillance Africa Conference and International Defence Exhibition in Accra, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Mark Owen Woyongo, said crimes at sea had assumed alarming proportions, posing a huge threat to global and regional commerce.

He said the threats of crimes facing African states in the maritime environment were trans-national in nature perpetrated by the same criminal gangs.

Stakeholders in the maritime industry, he said, were making huge investments in infrastructure, driving the need for security and protection solutions.

Mr Woyongo called for inter-regional and inter-agency collaborative efforts to combat the maritime and other crimes which, he said were at a centre stage in the Gulf of Guinea.

Rear Admiral Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro, the Chief of Naval Staff, said poorly defined maritime borders in West Africa encouraged pirates to launch more attacks along the coastal areas.

He cited a Ghanaian registered fishing vessel which was hijacked few months ago and moved across borders to Nigeria, and later released but one crew member was dead and two are still missing and presumed dead.

A Ghana Navy ship also succeeded in rescuing a hijacked vessel in recent months and arrested eight armed pirates who are standing trial in Accra.

Rear Admiral Biekro attributed the rising criminal activities on the sea to ill-defined international maritime borders which allow criminals to commit crimes in one country and immediately move into other country’s territorial waters to escape arrest.

He said: “Pirates and other criminal gangs have been emboldened and are launching more daring attacks and also becoming more violent.”

The conference, which is on the theme: “Delivering Total Surveillance of African Maritime Domains,” is one of the initiatives the security chiefs are taking to help naval forces in West Africa to deal with growing pirates and other criminal activities.

Source: GNA