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

France is ready to help secure the maritime territory of the Gulf of Guinea, a French government official has said.

The commander for the Atlantic Marine Zone Vice Admiral Jean-Louis Lozier said this during a day’s simulation naval exercise by the naval infantries along the Gulf of Guinea coast of West and Central Africa.

He said though the area was experiencing the worst rate of piracy in the world, member countries could reverse this situation to secure the critical sea route and vast economic opportunities in the maritime zone.

“We will work hard to improve the security situation along the Guinea Coast because it has implications for both the maritime trade and the local fishing industry,” Vice Admiral Lozier said.

The Gulf of Guinea, which stretches from Senegal to Angola, covering 6,000 km of coastline comprising 20 coastal states, is the world’s most piracy-infested sea.

The international marine Bureau (IMB) recorded 30 cases of piracy in the territory so far this year. Last year, it reported 72 attacks on vessels at sea between Ivory Coast and Cameroon, up from 28 in 2014.

The Friends of the Gulf of Guinea Group (G7++) have since 2013 formed a union to fight these challenges.

The efforts aimed to minimize the high sea robbery, as well as smuggling, illegal fishing, and provide search and rescue assistance, among others.

The French government has been spearheading the fight by helping with the training of navies in the territory while providing equipment and financial aid to ward-off high sea crime in the Atlantic Ocean.

“All our partner countries have their interests here, as they all ship goods through the territory. They also have their vessels doing fishing activities, while some they exploit mineral resources in the sea,” Ghana’s deputy defense minister Major (Rtd) Derek Oduro said Enditem

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