West African coastal states are collectively losing N250billion ($ 818.1million) to pirates operating within the waters in the region, a report by the Ocean Beyond Piracy (OBP) has said.
A statement by the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference said the latest report released by OBP showed that the economic cost of piracy to West Africa has been on the increase in the last three years, reaching over $818.1 million in 2017.
The report also revealed that about N65.5billion ($213.7million) was spent to contract maritime security personnel protecting vessels in the region. It also said that regional spending on law enforcement and naval patrols increased by N4billion ($13.2 million) in the year.
A 2018 report by the International Maritime Bureau, issued about piracy and armed robbery against ships, revealed that 201 incidents were reported in 2018. The report stated some other alarming figures, as the violence against crew from January till December 2018, varied between 141 incidents of crew taken hostage, 83 kidnapped, nine threatened, eight injured and two killed.
To this end, the Ghanaian Navy will host over 10 chiefs of naval staff from across Africa along with 250 international senior officials from navies, coast guards and marine police at the International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (IMDEC), which will hold between July 24 and 25, in Accra, to seek ways of securing the increasingly volatile marine and coastal waters in Africa as well as stabilizing economic advancement and security on the crucial Gulf of Guinea.
Ghana’s Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, and the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Seth Amoama, will inaugurate the event.
Amoama said: “I look forward to welcoming you to Accra as we are inviting all maritime stakeholders both local and international as well as chiefs of the navy’s sub- region and also from other international countries to come and discuss principal issues facing the maritime security of Africa and, in particular, the Gulf of Guinea.