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Gulf of Guinea: Security team comes alive in 3months

By Godwin Oritse

IN a bid to secure oil and gas operations as well as fishery activities in the Gulf of Guinea, countries in the region have agreed to set up an expert working team that would implement resolutions reached at the just concluded Gobal Maritime Security Conference, GMSC, held in Abuja, last week.

Disclosing this to newsmen at the end of the conference, Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that the team will be established within the next three months.

Security
Dakuku Peterside

He also said that the team will be meeting every quarter to evaluate their performance in line with their set targets.

The setting up of  the expert working group was one of the resolutions reached at the end of the conference just as it was resolved that Navies, Coast Guard and  maritime law enforcement agencies in the Gulf of Guinea states should engage in regular joint maritime operation with their international partners to harmonize operational procedures, training standards and foster interoperability.

 

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Other GMSC resolutions

The designation of maritime courts to handle cases of sea robbery, piracy and other maritime offences to ensure quick dispensation of cases in addition to capacity building and sensitization of judiciary on crucial relevant legislation and the implementation of the various strategies at continental, regional and national levels, were part of the resolutions reached at the conference.

It was also resolved that the Gulf of Guinea  countries should explore alternative and innovative sources of funding for their maritime security and law enforcement agencies to enhance the effectiveness of their response to maritime incidents just as  it was resolved that they  should establish repeatable and documentable frameworks for inter-agency cooperation.

Other resolutions reached at the conference are: GoG states are to strengthen mechanisms and structures for engagement with the local communities, fishing communities and seafarers including private stakeholders for economic benefits; GoG States should strengthen, including funding, national, zonal and regional maritime domain awareness centers to enhance information sharing and coordination; GoG States are encouraged to sustain regular meeting of heads of states, heads of navies/coast guards and other maritime enforcement agencies on issues of maritime security for mutual benefit; Relevant regional maritime agencies should engage industry experts/representatives for informed policy decision on maritime security and related issues; GoG States should promote strategic communications initiative to enhance awareness on maritime security concerns and potential benefits; GoG States should engage in maritime spatial planning of coastal and urban areas to ensure that maritime security; GoG countries should explore alternative and innovative sources of funding for their maritime security and law enforcement agencies to enhance the effectiveness of their response to maritime incidents; GoG States should establish repeatable, documentable frameworks for interagency cooperation; GoG states are encouraged to strengthen mechanisms and structures for engagement with the local communities, fishing communities and seafarers including private stakeholders for economic benefits; GoG States should strengthen, including funding, national, zonal and regional maritime domain awareness centres to enhance information sharing and coordination; GoG States are encouraged to sustain regular meeting of heads of states, heads of navies/coast guards and other maritime enforcement agencies on issues of maritime security for mutual benefit; Relevant regional maritime agencies should engage industry experts/representatives for informed policy decision on maritime security and related issues; GoG States should promote strategic communications initiative to enhance awareness on maritime security concerns and potential benefits; GoG States should engage in maritime spatial planning of coastal and urban areas to ensure that maritime security vulnerabilities are not created particularly in proximity to critical maritime infrastructure; GoG States should explore opportunities for maritime law enforcement through targeted engagement with coastal and fishing communities to support maritime security efforts; GoG States and the international community should put mechanisms in place to ensure that resources that are illegally harvested/explored in the GoG, including stolen oil and Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishery, are intentionally banned as was the case with the ‘blood diamonds’.

 

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