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Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Africa 2014 Conference

Examining threats, challenges, opportunities in the Gulf of Guinea

The Ghana Navy has invited industry experts and military and law enforcement leaders to Accra for the Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Africa 2014 conference. The delegates are examining the threats, challenges and opportunities that are present in the Gulf of Guinea and Africa’s Atlantic coast.

“We’re looking for long term partnerships and standardization across our region. Working together is the best way to guarantee safety, security and economic prosperity of the region.”

In welcoming remarks, Vice President of Ghana Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur said there is enormous opportunity in developing the resources of the Gulf of Guinea, but also a huge cost presented by security worries that constrain investment. The potential is being undermined by domestic, regional and international threats. “We’re looking for long term partnerships and standardization across our region. Working together is the best way to guarantee safety, security and economic prosperity of the region.”

Gulf of Guinea

The Cameroonian fast intervention brigade conducts anti-piracy training during exercise Obangame Express 2013, Feb. 27, 2013. Obangame Express was a multinational at-sea naval exercise designed to increase counter-piracy capabilities of partner nations and deter other maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea. The presence of hydrocarbon deposits in the Gulf of Guinea has raised the security threats to that region. U.S. Navy photo

Chief of Naval Staff of the Ghana Navy Rear Adm. Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro, said that the maritime security situation in the Gulf of Guinea  has caught the attention of the entire international community. “It is a threat to international peace and stability,” he said.  “It is a challenge that transcends international boundaries.”

Ghanas’s maritime domain has changed significantly in the last few years, Biekro said. “The discovery of hydrocarbon deposits will change the economic environment and become the engine of national progress.”

He said the Ghana Navy is reorganizing to be more flexible, responsive, and adaptable, with platforms embracing modularity that can be quickly adapted for specific missions

“The discovery of hydrocarbon deposits will change the economic environment and become the engine of national progress.”

The vision is for more cooperation and information sharing with domestic partners and regional neighbors. Industry partners are important, too, he said, with some offering “complete solutions.” But, he added, state institutions must lead the way to safeguard issues of sovereignty.

Additional speakers at the conference have included senior officers from other nations in the region, including Nigeria, South Africa, Gabon, Cameroon, Benin, Ivory Coast, and industry sponsors.

Participants were able to visit the naval dockyard at Sekondi and air base at Takoradi as guests of the Ghana Navy and Air Force.

Ghana Navy

A Ghana Navy sailor boards amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) during a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) drill with the Ghana Navy, March 30, 2010. Increased security threats in the Gulf of Guinea require greater cooperation between nations in the region. U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Russell J. McBride

The event is produced by IQPC. Conference producer Michael Champion attributes the large attendance and smooth operation of the event to the close attention and involvement of the Ghana Navy.

By

Capt. Edward H. Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is a senior-level communications professional with more than...