Air Commodore George Arko-Dadzie, the Deputy Commandant of the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPC), has revealed that the maritime domain is essential to global mobility, trade and endowed with an abundant source of vital resources.
He said the vital resources, ranged from food to energy.
Therefore, the ability to traverse, exploit, and share these vast expanses was crucial to the security and prosperity of every nation around the world.
Air Commodore Arko-Dadzie made the disclosure at the opening of a two-week intensive training course on Maritime Security and Transnational Organized Crime (MSTOC) for 34 professionals.
A total of 25 males and nine females, drawn from 13 out of the 26 Gulf of Guinea countries are attending the training.
Air Commodore Arko-Dadzie explained that unfortunately, the maritime domain, a shared space, had become an arena for conflict through intrusion, exploitation, and attacks by myriad competitors with threatened nefarious actions and violent trends daily.
He acknowledged that there was no denying that the Gulf of Guinea was a global hotspot for piracy and robbery at sea, reiterating that although there had been a downward trend in piratical activities over the past year, the region remained unattractive to seafarers.
“Shipping,” which is how about 90 percent of the trade of the region is transported, had seen a tremendous increase in cost.
Some shipping companies have factored the cost of independent security contractors, extra insurance, and, sometimes, ransom money into the overall cost of shipping in the region,” he stated.
He noted that it was only through combined efforts by coastal states that such threats could be effectively combated.
He said the course, would therefore, equip the participants with the requisite skills to explore links to transnational organized crimes and terrorism, as they would update their knowledge on current legislative trends within the Gulf of Guinea region.
That would enable the stakeholders to enforce local, regional, and international legislation.
Ms. Pauline Okkens, the Political Advisor at the German Embassy, opening the course, said it was the 15th edition, adding that, the German Government was committed to supporting the development and implementation of need-based training courses in KAIPTC both financially and technically.
Ms. Okkens said 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 states and non-state actors.
Some of the topics to be treated during the two-week course include 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 (ISPS) Code, Maritime Terrorism, Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea, and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU), among others.