Some security experts as well as big wigs in the maritime sector have thrown their weight behind plans for a National Integrated Maritime Security Strategy that seeks to enhance surveillance of the country’s maritime domain.
The strategy is being proposed in the wake of threats of piracy and an increase in sea-borne crimes which, if not curtailed, will undermine the viability of the booming maritime sector to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
Minister for National Security; Albert Kan-Dapaah, in pledging his support for the initiative admits that having such a strategy in place will greatly help to advance the national economy.
“This project which probably may end up with a blue print for us, as to how best we can participate in such a boom in the blue economy is also something that we can take advantage of,” he said.
Also backing the initiative is the Chief Staff Officer of the Ghana Navy, Commodore Issah Yakubu, who is convinced that such a framework, aside the economic gains, will also make the country safer.
He indicated: “The maritime domain is very critical to the development of this country and security of the domain is very important and the navy plays a major role in ensuring that security.”
Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Kwame Owusu, is of the opinion that the effective implementation of the strategy would aide government to identify agencies who should be responsible for various crisis management.
“We need to be able to put a document together so that the government will be able to know whenever there are crisis or there are problems or security issues we will know who is responsible,” he said.
The Integrated Maritime Security Strategy is being championed by the Security Governance Initiative (SGI,) a technical multi agency body set up by the United States government to improve maritime security, border management and cybercrime in the country.
The team made up of members from diverse security agencies, have met with various stakeholders like the Ghana Navy, Customs division of GRA, National Security and Ghana Maritime Authority in a consultation process to identify challenges and deliberate on suggestions to the implementation of a national integrated maritime security.
The Representative of the U.S Government, Nicholas Tomb, said the purpose of the SGI’s visits to the stakeholder agencies is to ensure that the interests and concerns of the agencies are included in the integrated maritime security strategy.
“We want to be engaging with the stakeholders throughout the process to ensure that their interests, their concerns are included in the strategy,” he said.