Commodore Kakra Addison (Rtd), a Maritime Safety and Security Expert, has advocated for effective cooperation among Gulf of Guinea countries to pool resources and experience in the battle against piracy, which has plagued the region.
Commodore Addison (Rtd), a former Deputy Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), stated that the region needed to be protected from such maritime attacks in order to protect the resources and benefits that citizens and countries derive from the Gulf of Guinea.
He claimed that only by tackling the issue of generalized maritime disorder could piracy and maritime terrorism be managed in the long run.
He said this while presenting a paper on "Maritime Terrorism, Piracy, and Armed Robbery at Sea" at the 15th Maritime Security and Transnational Organized Crime (MSTOC) course organized by the KAIPTC with support from the German Government for 34 professionals from 13 Gulf of Guinea countries.
He stated that the region has 5,000 nautical miles (nm), which offer seemingly ideal shipping conditions and host numerous natural harbours, and that it is also rich in hydrocarbons, fish, gas, cocoa, gold, timber, and other resources, with a market size of over 300 million consumers.
"These characteristics hold enormous promise for maritime commerce, resource extraction, shipping, and development." Indeed, container traffic in West African ports has expanded at the quickest rate in Sub-Saharan Africa since 1995," he remarked.
According to Commodore Addison (Rtd), a former Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, the Gulf of Guinea region has also become a hub for global energy supplies, with significant amounts of all petroleum products consumed in Europe, North America, and Asia transiting this waterway.
He warned that the recent attacks and damage have reached alarming proportions, indicating that data from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) revealed that it remained the world's piracy hotspot in 2021, accounting for nearly half (43 percent) of all reported piracy incidents in the first three months of 2021.
According to the IMB, the Gulf of Guinea saw the highest-ever number of crew kidnappings in 2020, with 130 crew members abducted in 22 separate cases.
According to the IMB, pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea were well-equipped to assault further away from shorelines and were unafraid to take violent action against innocent crews, necessitating teamwork and cooperation to put a stop to their activities.
-CDA Consult || Contributor