Deputy Minister of Defence, Major Derek Oduro (rtd), has underscored the importance of curbing maritime crime such as piracy to make the sea safe for all.
According to the retired army officer, though it is difficult to win over criminals on the sea because of it complex nature, efforts would still have to be made to win over them.
Major Oduro, who was speaking at a three-day meeting, by the G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea Group (G7++FoGG) 2019 summit in Accra said, like-minded nations need to come together and fight the menace with a united front.
“The seamless nature of this crime makes this fight very difficult for individual countries”
The meeting is being co-chaired by Ghana and France, under the theme “Working Together for the Common Security of the Gulf of Guinea”.
While, giving insight to the meeting which was planned earlier this year, Major Oduro, called for speedy implementation of the objectives of the meeting.
Secretary of State to the French Minister for the Armed Forces, Mrs. Genevieve Darrieussecq, called for stronger measures to combat the activities of criminals on the sea to ensure safety.
According to her pragmatic efforts were needed to carry out a decisive work, to combat the crimes on the sea that threaten safety.
The G7++FoGG is made up of Canada, Italy, Germany, the United States, Belgium, Japan, the United Kingdom (UK), France, the European Union, Brazil (observer), South Korea, Denmark, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, , UNODC and INTERPOL.
It objective is to assist the Gulf of Guinea countries in reforming the security of their maritime areas, harmonizing the various legal frameworks in the fight against maritime crime, strengthening inter-state cooperation, and promoting the blue economy.
Mrs. Darrieussecq said, her country sees G7++FoGG as an important avenue and at the same time issues concerning maritime. She said this agenda would have to be encouraged as they serve as formidable partnerships for the fight against maritime crime.
She mentioned drug and human trafficking, pirate attacks and illegal fishing as some of the security challenges that are encountered
“One of the major consequences is the increased fragility of all riparian countries and a decline in economic development,” Mrs. Darrieussecq stated.
“However, as we know, economic development is essential to ensure the stability of a dynamic space, a space with a huge potential for growth…”
It was government’s job to ensure security; reassure investors and guarantee the conditions of development, Mrs. Darrieussecq said.
“These challenges are immense. A year is obviously a very short period to deal with it. But France and Ghana are not starting from scratch. We had the remarkable work done by previous presidencies.”
She said it was in this continuity that France and Ghana had written their action; because it was a collective effort in the long term, an effort that aimed to continue.
“We share the need for joint, mutual and shared maritime security, which is the essence of this meeting,” Mrs. Darrieussecq said.
She said the Gulf of Guinea countries were not alone in facing these challenges; assuring that France was firmly on their side.
She said since 1990, France had maintained a quasi-permanent presence in the Gulf of Guinea.
The mission of the French Navy was part of a process of accompaniment and support to African navies through the contribution of their know-how and the sharing of experience”, she added.
She said France was also relying on its network of cooperatives put at the disposal of the states bordering the Gulf of Guinea.
“France’s action is part of a global and collective strategy. This is especially the case of the European Union.”
Mrs. Darrieussecq said together with their British partner, they were implementing the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Major General Francis Ofori, among others said the decision to hold the conference was a step in the right direction stressing it signifies that no country can do it unless it joins hands for a common goal.