Six countries in the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Zone have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate and conduct joint maritime patrols at sea.
The MoU was signed following extensive deliberations between the countries.
The move is expected to augment fight against criminal activities at sea.
The signing of this MOU between member countries in the Maritime Zone F in the Gulf of Guinea means that; Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Burkina Faso will pull their resources including ships, human resource, aircraft and everything that it takes to patrol at sea at one location to help the Navy sweep across the maritime space to make people who have the legitimate right or doing legitimate business operate at sea safely.
Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the ECOWAS Commission, General Francis Behianzin told a gathering at the signing ceremony “this means a lot to our resolve to ensure that our waters are safe in every way possible”.
On his part, Ghana’s Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Seth Amoama said “the pirates and other criminals have become increasingly sophisticated and continue to maintain the intent and capacity to exploit security gaps across our national maritime borders”.
“We have seen a gradual decrease in confidence in the maritime industry, especially the shipping community in the ability of the various coastal troops to provide durable maritime security which is conducive for legitimate trade and related activities at sea” he added.
According to the Chief of Naval Staff, “with this MOU, the ECOWAS Maritime Zone F intends to provide another layer of decisive response to the growing threat to maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea and specifically the Zone F area of responsibility”.
The Acting Director for the ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordination Center, Commander Yussif Benning told the gathering that “as you are aware, the issues of piracy and other crimes are on the increase, although in the maritime Zone F it is not as high as other areas, it about time the governments of these countries take action on it.
And so the signing of this MOU is another layer of intent and action that will enable the countries to tackle the illegalities going on within their common maritime space”.
He expressed confidence that “It won’t be long before we put the operational plans into action, it’s going to be soon.”
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