More collaboration crucial to safeguarding Africa’s waters

The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has expressed worry about the growing threats on African waters from foreign vessels and fears the development will affect economies if nothing is down urgently. The authority is therefore pushing for more collaboration between African countries to safeguard the continent’s territorial waters.

According to a report by the International Maritime Bureau, there is increasing illicit activities particularly in the Gulf of Guinea even thou there was a decline in overall worldwide incidents of piracy last year.

The report states that there was an alarming increase in crew kidnappings across the Gulf of Guinea. The number of crew kidnapped in this area increased by more than 50percent from 78 in 2018 to 121 in 2019.

Speaking at the opening of the 4th meeting of the Executive Council of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), the Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority Thomas Alonsi said: “This essentially calls for greater collaboration necessary to put in place the institutions and capabilities to ensure security and the rule of law in order to address these illicit maritime activities and transnational organized crimes in our waters.

“I therefore take this opportunity to call on maritime administrations to increase our collaborative and coordination efforts with the navies to install sanity in our maritime domain. I believe this is also a critical matter that needs our urgent attention at this session,” he said.

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The Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside on his part said, the association has laid a firm foundation for regular consultations to enable African maritime administrations build joint positions on issues of common concern and interests in the maritime sector. This has been done through its annual executive council meetings.

He added that: “It is at the EXCO that we deliberate on resolutions reached at AAMA Conferences and agree on the way forward in ensuring that Africa’s Maritime Domain remain competitive and capable of attracting investment to grow the African economy.”

The Deputy Minister for Transport, Daniel Titus Glover, also admonished the association to device pragmatic measures to curb the increasing maritime insecurity issues on the continent.

According to him the development can only be addressed through collaborative efforts by all African Maritime Nations. He said: “our fishing sector is being exploited by foreign companies thus depriving governments of a highly valuable source of revenue. This exploitation can be blamed on the weak monitoring and inadequate regulation of the sector. Again, I urge the Executive Council of AAMA to discuss ways by which this all-important Sector can be properly monitored and offenders prosecuted to protect our fish reserves for the future generation.”

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The first session of EXCO was held in Alexandria Egypt in 2017, the 2nd Session in Mombasa Kenya, the 3rd Session in Casablanca Morocco and the 4th happened in Ghana.

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