Philip Nwosu, Lagos
West African coastal states are collectively losing N250 billion ($ 818.1 million) 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 Ocean Beyond Piracy (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 N65.5 billion ($213.7 million) was spent to contract maritime security personnel protecting vessels in the region. It also said that 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 total of 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, 9 threatened, 8 injured, and 2 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 24-25, 2019 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 Mahamudu Bawumia and The Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Seth Amoama will inaugurate the event.
Rear Admiral Seth 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 principle issues facing the maritime security of Africa and in particular the Gulf of Guinea.”
“At the conference we will explore modern technical innovations that will aid in curbing the illegal unregulated, unreported fishing dominating our maritime domain. We look forward to a rich conversation on information sharing and capacity building. we will also talk about cyber and electronic warfare. In addition, participants and attendees have the opportunity to visit the stands and exhibitions put in place by major defence and maritime industry to showcase modern and advanced technology in maritime severance defence command and control and a whole lot of technology to be displayed during this conference”, Rear Admiral Seth Amoama, Chief of Naval Staff, Ghana Navy, added.
The latest Chiefs of Naval Staff to confirm their attendance as guests and speakers at International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (IMDEC) are Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff, Nigeria Navy, Rear Admiral Koi Alexis Maomou, Chief of Staff, Guinea Navy, Rear Admiral Momar Diagne, Chief of Naval Staff, Senegal Navy, Captain Kossi Mayo, Chief of Staff, Togo Navy.
Commenting on organizing IMDEC, Rear Admiral Seth Amoama, Chief of Naval Staff, Ghana Navy, said: “The Ghana Navy celebrates the 60th Anniversary this year under the theme Celebrating 60 years of Naval Excellence: Securing the Maritime Domain for National Development. As part of activities to commemorate the occasion, we are in partnership with Great Minds Events Management to organize the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference in Accra Ghana from the 23rd -25th July 2019.”