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Regional News Fri, 18 Jul 2014

Maritime University graduates Safety Course Participants

A graduation ceremony for 26 participants from Africa in the maiden English-speaking session of maritime safety and security course has been held in Accra. The eight-week course dubbed “Critical Maritime Routes in the Gulf of Guinea” (CRIMGO) was organized by the Regional Maritime University with support from the European Union.

It is to develop common skills among various agencies involved in maritime safety and security around the Gulf of Guinea.

The 26 mid-managers and operators were drawn from Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe and Togo to address issues relating to maritime regulations, prosecution of illegal activities and fair governance of maritime domain.

Mr Eric Glotin, Training Director for CRIMGO Course, said regional cooperation was critical in improving the safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.

He said the course was fashioned around four components namely regional cooperation, maritime law and enforcement, information sharing and regional training for the middle managers.

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Mr Glotin said the training provided a platform for participants to share their experiences and promote confidence for better efficiency between future stakeholders as well as cope with regular adjustment of criminality at the sea.

He said shipping was continually being exposed to threats such as collisions, pollution, human trafficking, smuggling, illegal fishing, piracy and armed robbery, adding that the Gulf of Guinea in 2013 for instance suffered 31 piracy attacks.

Mr Glotin said future training would involve participation of private companies and focus on crisis response dwelling on basic training on sea events and propose assistance in solution finding.

Mr Claude Maeten, Head of European Union Delegation in Ghana, said the overall security situation in the Gulf of Guinea had been deteriorating in the past years.

He said the EU provided 4.5 million euros for the CRIMGO project which started in 2013 and had been a front runner action to improve safety of the main shipping routes.

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Mr Maeten said during the Summit of Gulf of Guinea Heads of states in Yaounde on June 2013, member states of the Economic Community of West African States, the Economic Community of Central African States and the Gulf of Guinea Commission showed their determination to face challenges through a common regional approach.

Captain Aaron Turkson, Rector of Regional Maritime University, said negative security threats to the maritime industry had been devastating and called for concerted efforts to deal decisively with the menace.

Mr McAries Akanbong, Deputy Director, Legal and Consular Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said it was the desire that the training would equip participants with the requisite skills to address maritime security issues.

Source: GNA