Minister calls for integrated approach to address maritime security
Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister for Defence, has called for a multifaceted approach to addressing maritime security challenges in the sub-region.
Mr Nitiwul said continuous training to build the capacities of enforcement agencies was critical in combating the threats of maritime security, which include drug smuggling, human trafficking, piracy and armed robbery at sea.
This was in a speech read on his behalf on Friday in Accra at the opening ceremony of a training exercise christened: “Obangame Express 2021,” aimed at building the capacities of Navies in the sub-region to maintain a safe and secured maritime environment.
The nine-day programme, brought together over 200 participants from 36 countries and regional groups, hosted by the Ghana Navy in collaboration with the United States Naval Forces, Africa.
The exercise is an annual combined Central and West African multinational maritime event in the Gulf of Guinea, which focus on increased regional stakeholder cooperation to ensure maritime safety and security.
Mr Nitiwul stated that the exercise had been designed to involve stakeholders in Ghana’s maritime industry to ensure interoperability between the Navies and as well focus on information sharing among the participants.
He said since the beginning of 2021, the Gulf of the Guinea had recorded 18 maritime cases, stressing that the menace must be considered holistically with effective strategies to address the challenges.
Mr Nitiwul, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bimbilla Constituency, said the exercise would emphasis on the practical implementation of some laid down inter-agency procedures towards managing maritime security threats.
Admiral Robert P. Burke, the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe and Africa, said the exercise was a testimony of a strong partnership to create a more secure world by learning from best practices in the maritime sector.
“Maritime security requires a coordinated action between agencies. The exercise provides opportunities to work together and strike the balance and develop efficient models in fighting maritime security in the sub-region,” he said.
Mrs Stephanie Sullivan, the US Ambassador to Ghana, urged Africa leaders to take proactive steps to address the menace of maritime security in the region.
“We will continue to collaborate with stakeholders to reinforce these relationships to learn from best and worse practices and ensure the safety of all in the sector,” added.