Pirate attacks, which used to happen far from our waters are now a major threat to shipping in our maritime domain, a situation which if not addressed may become a more difficult threat to deal with in the near future, Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo has observed.
Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo made the remarks at a conference organized by the Ghana Navy to deliberate on strategies to equip and train its personnel against evolving maritime threats.
The conference which came off at the Afrikiko Hotel near Akosombo in the Eastern region was held under the theme: ‘’ Maritime Terrorism: Training and Equipping the Ghana Navy against Evolving Maritime threats.’’
Addressing the dignitaries present at the opening ceremony, Chief of Naval, Staff Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo said similar conferences had been held since 2014 to address diverse challenges over the last four years.
He however added that this year’s conference was of greater significance “as it seeks to find solutions to some of the most demanding security challenges of our time.”
Rear Admiral Faidoo pointed out that, in past decades, the major concerns of maritime security agencies in the Gulf of Guinea were predominantly illegal fishing, dumping of toxic waste and to some extent illicit trafficking of drugs and occasional robberies at sea.
While these persistent security challenges continue to evolve, new and more complex ones have emerged, stretching the existing capacities of maritime law enforcement agencies across the globe, he added.
“The gravity and dynamics of the threat we face today require maritime law enforcement authorities and stakeholders to revise and review strategies since it is clear that longstanding ones are no longer adequate for dealing with these challenges,” the security chief said.
He said the Ghana Navy, though the lead agency for combatting maritime security threats, will not be able to do it alone and to overcome the emerging maritime security challenges require an integrated approach.
This, he observed will require new training regimes for law enforcement personnel, equipping them with new and modern equipment, providing adequate logistical support and resourcing frontline personnel, information gathering and sharing together with other collaborating partners.
He said it is in the light of the foregoing that the theme for this year’s conference has been chosen and the Ghana Navy has already initiated actions in line with this theme. Personnel are trained, government on the other hand has also set in motion new acquisition of ships and logistics for the Ghana Navy.
Consequently, the Navy is collaborating with other frontline agencies like the Ghana Maritime Authority, Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority, Ghana National Petroluem Corporation to train and equip the Ghana Navy to enable them maintain a robust presence in our water to deter criminals.
Meanwhile, Hon. Samuel Agyekum District Chief Executive for Asuogyaman who was present at the ceremony expressed his pleasure at the Asuogyaman district being selected to host this year’s conference.
He described as ‘appropriate’ the theme for the conference and urged Ghana and its allied friends to prepare accordingly to address this situation.
Commodore James Osei Kontoh, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval also expressed concern at the persistent maritime threats which has become a major concern for all in recent days, describing the theme for the conference as ‘appropriate and timely.’
He also expressed hope that the conference will serve as the appropriate platform for stakeholders to address their objectives.
“It is the desire of the Chief of Naval Staff that this conference will produce a conducive forum for maritime stakeholders across inter- agencies to integrate their goals and priorities,” he charged.
He therefore entreated participants to be fully engaged in the deliberation and contribute meaningfully.
Source: Joyce Bedeleyemail@example.com