Maritime Authority moves to enhance policing of nation’s waters

Thomas Alonsi, Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority

… as Gulf of Guinea accounts for 43% of reported piracy in Q1 2021   

The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has entered into a strategic partnership to better communicate with vessels in Ghana’s waters as a means to enhance policing the Gulf of Guinea.

The move is coming at a time piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is on the ascendency and amounted to 43 percent of reported piracy attacks globally, according to first-quarter data from the International Maritime Bureau – an agency of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

To this end, commercial satellite operator Sternula, Denmark’s first satellite operator, has entered into a new partnership with the Ghana Maritime Authority for usage of the company’s satellite-based Very High Frequency (VHF) Data Exchange System (VDES).

This is a new communication technology built on capabilities of the well-known Automatic Identification System (AIS) technology. It supports the development of e-navigation solutions and will be used for enhancing navigational and safety-related purposes in Ghanaian waters. Specifically, the GMA will among others be using Sternula’s market-leading e-navigation connectivity service for reliable and accurate maritime navigational warnings to seafarers, while enhancing safety in Ghanaian waters.

This is a key milestone in the much-anticipated third-phase of the Strategic Sector Cooperation between the two countries. Ghana and Denmark have been collaborating to ensure a safe maritime environment in the Gulf of Guinea area, and to help realise Ghana’s ambition of becoming a leading maritime hub in the sub-region.

This collaboration is being spearheaded through the Strategic Sector Cooperation between GMA, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and the Danish Maritime Authority that started in 2015. “Since almost 90 percent of West Africa’s trade is handled by sea, we see great potential in implementing our satellite-based e-navigation technology to boost the entire Ghanaian maritime sector,” says Lars Moltsen, CEO at Sternula.

As one of Africa’s leading seafaring nations, Ghana is attracting more and more merchant traffic in and around the country’s largest ports. Therefore, it is of interest to government to integrate new technology for improving the safety and efficiency of maritime transport along the Ghanaian coast:

“In line with our ambitious goals, today we are entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the first Danish satellite-provider in advanced micro-satellites. This marks the beginning of a new partnership that could lead to the deployment of cutting-edge technologies in our maritime domain,” said said Thomas Alonsi, Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority.

“Under the agreement, the Ghana Maritime Authority will be testing Sternula’s market-leading e-navigation connectivity service – a VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) solution – enabling reliable and accurate Maritime Safety Information (MSI) warnings to be sent to seafarers by local authorities to enhance safety in our waters. This, it is envisaged, will help Ghana to gain a better and more accurate picture of the traffic in our waters, which – in these times of maritime insecurity – is an urgent necessity,” he added.

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