The Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPC), with support from the German Government, has commenced a two-week intensive training course on Maritime Security and Transnational Organised Crime for 34 professionals.
Twenty-five men and nine females, drawn from 13 of the 26 Gulf of Guinea countries, are attending the course, which is the ninth edition.
Ms Pauline Okkens, the Political Advisor at the German Embassy, opening the course, said the German Government was committed to supporting the development and implementation of need-based training by the KAIPTC, both financially and technically.
It was consistent with the German Government’s interest to support the African Union, ECOWAS, and Member States in developing the capacity of key maritime security actors made up of military personnel, police, and civilians of state and non-state actors, she said.
Maritime insecurity, and particularly piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, continued to be a matter of grave concern to the global community as attacks on vessels and seafarers persist.
Ms Okkens indicated that the evolving and increasing complexities of the modus operandi of pirates in the region, as well as increased capabilities to attack vessels at longer ranges beyond 200 nautical miles, were attracting the attention of international players.
A suspected piracy attack on Marine Tanker SUCCESS 9 about 370 nautical miles south of Abidjan on April 10, 2023, and many others possessed a threat to global shipping and maritime transport as well as undermining the prospects for economic development in countries within the region, she said.
Ms Okkens, however, noted that concerted efforts over the last decade to mobilize national, continental, and global actions to combat the threats posed by piracy and other transnational crimes, were yielding results.
“Available statistics from the West Africa Regional Maritime Security Centre confirm the continued marginal decline in piratical incidents within the Gulf of Guinea maritime domain in 2022,” she said.
Despite the general decline in the number of incidents, the threat of pirate activities in terms of the mass kidnapping of the crew and the violence meted out to them, the destruction of vessels, and the robbing of crew belongings still remained potent, Ms Okkens said.
“This worrying trend can only be reversed through increased capacity building, information sharing, coordination, cooperation, and collaboration amongst stakeholders, which serve as motivation for the continuous support from the German Government for the Maritime Security and Transnational Organised Crime course.”
Some of the topics to be treated are the legal frameworks on maritime security such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the YAOUNDE Code, the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, Maritime Terrorism, Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea, and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU).