On patrol: a security exercise at sea.
On patrol: a security exercise at sea.

ECOWAS must ignite swift actions against the increased cases of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the Centre for Maritime Law and Security (CEMLAWS) stated on Tuesday at Tema.

Captain Dr. Kamal-Deen Ali (Rtd), Executive Director of CEMLAWS expressed concern about the surge in piracy in the ECOWAS coastline which he attributed to the inability of regional bodies to put in actions to outwit such criminal organizations.

The Gulf of Guinea in recent times has recorded a number of piracy as reports indicates that more kidnappings took place at sea in the first two months of 2021 alone compared to what occurred in the entire first quarter of 2020, he said.

He said such organizations were using improved methods of operation, and newer business modules, while regional bodies were unable to combat them.

He said for every crime, once you allow it to fester, those involve in it will perfect it. The business module of these crime has brought more money to the actors, and they have acquired faster boats to conduct their activities.

He said piracy organizations had more resources for planning, hostage accommodation and negotiations, adding that, there are groups who kidnap on sea, those who move the captives from one place to the other, as well as those who negotiate for the ransom.

He therefore called on nations to be more proactive in the fight against piracy, adding that, governments must provide enough funds to enable security agencies to get the needed logistics to augment their capacity to match up to the strength and sophistication of the pirates.

According to him, the government of Nigeria needed to expedite action against piracy, as about 90 per cent of the piracy cases in the sub-region generated from the Niger Delta area.

Dr. Kamal-Deen who is also a Senior Lecturer at the University for Professional Studies, Accra, said, seriousness must be attached to the piracy fight.

He said it has continued to register its footprints in countries including Ghana, and that initiatives to fight it must be expedited since as its increases human lives becomes the pawn at stake and leads to higher cost of international trade in the sub-region.

“Not only will insurance on ships increase but also insurance on crew. And that will mean higher freight charges and which will have to be recovered on imports,” he said.

He said there was the need for a strong collaboration between the international community and African States to have a formidable force against piracy.

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