Real Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo, the Chief of the Naval Staff of the Ghana Navy, has called for an integrated approach to address the emerging maritime security challenges in the country.
Real Admiral Faidoo said the approach required new training regime for law enforcement personnel, equipping them with new and modern equipment, providing adequate logistics support and resourcing frontline personnel.
“The approach must encompassed information gathering and sharing among the various agencies involved in law enforcement and with other collaborating partners,” he added.
He made the call on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of a three-day Chief of the Naval Staff Bi-Annual conference for senior staff of the Navy personnel in Akosombo in the Eastern Region.
The conference is on the theme: “Maritime Terrorism: Training and Equipping the Ghana Navy against Evolving Maritime Threats.”
The conference objective is to strategise and find solutions to some of the most demanding maritime security challenges in the country.
He said today’s Maritime security threats required the Maritime Law Enforcement Authorities and stakeholders to revise and review its strategies since the old strategies were no longer adequate for dealing with contemporary security challenges.
He said in the past decades, the major concerns of Maritime security agencies in the country and others in the Gulf of Guinea were predominantly illegal fishing, dumping of toxic waste and to some extent, illicit trafficking of drugs, small arms and light weapons and occasional robberies at sea.
Real Admiral Faidoo stressed that pirate attacks, which used to happen far from the country’s waters, are now a major threat to shipping in our maritime domain, which if not addressed, may become a more difficult threat to deal with in the future.
He noted that other similar threats like illegal bunkering, human trafficking and greater threats such as trans-national organised crime particularly, terrorism, are testing the traditional methods of combating maritime crimes.
Real Admiral Faidoo said the Ghana Navy had initiated actions to train personnel to meet the demands of new challenges and that government had also set in motion new acquisition of ships and logistics for the Navy to provide the tools required to keep the Maritime domain safe and secure.
He announced that the Navy is collaborating with other frontline agencies like the Ghana Maritime Authority, Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation to train and equip the Ghana Navy to maintain a robust presence in the country’s waters to deter would be criminals.
He said the establishment of the Maritime Operation Centres, at the Naval Headquarters and in the Commands, the various Naval detachments on the Volta Lake, and the realisation of the Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre, Zone F, were what could be achieved in the fight against maritime crimes when partner agencies work together.
He urged participants to bring their best ideas to the fore for a fruitful discussion.
Mr Samuel Kwame Agyekum, the District Chief Executive of Asougyaman District Assembly, said the issue of terrorism was on the increase, which posed security challenges to the country, urging authorities to come out with new strategies to confront the menace.
He urged the participants to apply intelligence and arrest offenders to serve as detent to others who intend to indulge in such act.
He was optimistic that at the end of the programme, participants would be well equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills to combat evolving threats of maritime terrorism.