Maritime crimes such as piracy, armed robbery at sea, kidnapping for ransom, illegal fishing and hijackings among others are recurrent along the area known as the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), making it the most dangerous shipping route in the world presently.
Data shows that crew kidnappings increased more than fifty per cent from 78 in 2018 to 121 in 2019, with over ninety percent of global crew kidnappings reported at sea in 2019 occurring in the GoG. Aside from posing as a threat to international and regional shipping, it further undermines the security and development of the Gulf of Guinea littoral states.
To contribute to tackling this menace, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in partnership with the Government of Denmark is organizing the “Developing Maritime Security Culture in the Gulf of Guinea” course. With participants drawn from the Navy, Judiciary, Marine Police, Fisheries Commission, private shipping companies and civil society organizations, to mention a few, the course aims to contribute to improving security in the GoG by enhancing collaboration and cooperation among agencies responsible for maritime security in Ghana.
The course, which will be rolled out in five phases, will be held in Accra, Cotonou and Lagos in 2020 and 2021, beginning in Takoradi from 26th October to 6th November 2020. It will cover topics such as legal and policy frameworks on maritime security, maritime security threat response in the Gulf of Guinea, mapping maritime security actors, gaps in maritime security architecture in the GoG, state action at sea (i.e. national maritime security committees), managing relationships and inter-agency collaboration, maritime intelligence, information sharing and management and incidence reporting mechanisms in the Gulf of Guinea, among others.
Aside the exposure to theoretical underpinnings, participants will have simulation sessions during the training to acquaint them with skills to manage real life situations. Additionally, a panel discussion will be held with speakers from both the formal and informal maritime sectors. The recommendations from these discussions is expected to contribute to the efforts in enhancing an intimate working relationship among maritime actors.
The remarkable and invaluable support of the Government of Denmark to maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is worthy of mention and commendation. Beginning with their co-funding of the EU-led GoGIN-program from 2015-2018, they have also initiated a dedicated Danish Maritime Security Programme from 2019 to 2021. The results of these interventions have been the coordination of activities of Gulf of Guinea countries in ECOWAS and ECCAS for effective knowledge sharing andcollaboration through research and capacity building of maritime actors. Thus, Danish Government is fully committed to increasing safety and security of national and international ships in the Gulf of Guinea, and to securing peace in West Africa and the continent as a whole.
About the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre:
The Ghana Ministry of Defence (MoD) established the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in 1998 and commissioned it in 2004. The purpose was to build upon and share Ghana's five decades of internationally acclaimed experience and competence in peace operations with other states in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region and the rest of Africa.
This was in recognition of the need for training military, police and civilian men and women to meet the changing demands of multidimensional peace operations. The Centre is one of the three (3) Peacekeeping Training Centres of Excellence mandated by the ECOWAS to offer training in peacekeeping and peace support operations (PSO) in Africa.
The Centre delivers training courses in three thematic areas; Peace Support Operations, Conflict Management and Peace and Security Studies and also runs Masters and PhD programmes in same. The KAIPTC has a world-class research department that undertakes research in the thematic areas in Peace and Security. Located in Accra, Ghana, the KAIPTC is an internationally recognized institution and has to date trained and tutored over 21, 496 participants and students since its inception.
KAIPTC is a gender-sensitive organization and committed to gender equality. Following the launch of its gender policy in 2014, the Centre has mainstreamed gender into its policies and programmes and integrates the same in its focal areas, namely training, research and postgraduate education.
The Centre has developed a Sexual Harassment policy and fully oriented employees on same. It has also provided a Nursing and Childcare Centre and instituted a paternity leave policy, all with the aim to create a conducive work environment at KAIPTC.