Piracy, illegal fishing, and armed robberies are some of the major issues threatening the Gulf of Guinea region. These threats not only disrupt regional stability but also hinder economic development. It is essential that international and intergovernmental players continue to build upon joint capabilities to alter this progression.
The International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference occurring on 24-25 July 2019 at the Kempinski Gold Coast in Accra, Ghana, will see a gathering of more than 15 chiefs of naval staff from around Africa and Internationally, in addition to maritime stakeholders from around the globe discussing stabilizing economic advancement and security on the crucial Gulf of Guinea. Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and The Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Seth Amoama will inaugurate the event.
Hosted as part of the month-long 60th Anniversary celebrations, IMDEC will showcase exclusive milestones of Ghana Navy’s achievements as well as forecast its future accomplishments within the maritime sector under the theme “Celebrating 60 years under Naval Excellence: Securing the Maritime Domain for National Development” IMDEC is an international event and exhibition focusing on securing the increasingly volatile maritime and coastal waters of West Africa namely Gulf of Guinea, where 20 captains, commodores, rear admirals, vice admirals, & admirals from South Africa, all navies on Gulf of Guinea, Senegal, Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, China, France, & Portugal will discuss multiple crucial topics like overcoming illegal oil-bunkering, piracy, unregulated and unreported fishing, smuggling, human and drug trafficking, illegal bunkering and crude oil theft at the region’s waters, empowering interagency cooperation to jointly interdict threats around the Gulf of Guinea, governance and regulatory aspects, including compliance with ISPS codes, stabilizing economic growth at the region’s coasts and seas.
On Tuesday, 23 July 2019 an exclusive site visit to Sekondi Naval Base where delegates will be airlifted from Accra to Sekondi port by the Ghana Air Force for an exclusive site visit of the Takoradi Naval Base will take place. The tour will consist of an in-depth walkthrough of the naval dockyard and base as well as a private sea tour to further display the advanced capabilities of Ghana’s Naval fleet.
IMDEC will be attended by Chief of Defense Staff, Ghana Armed Forces Lieutenant General Obed Boamah Akwa, Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo (Ghana), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete-Ekwe Ibas (Nigeria), Naval Captain Godwin Livinus Bessing (Ghana), Michael Achagwe Luguje (GPHA Ghana), Hadiza Bala Usman (Nigeria Ports Authority) and many more high-level speakers.
The latest report released by Ocean Beyond Piracy (OBP) showed that the economic cost of piracy to West Africa has been on the increase in the last three years, reaching over $818.1 million in 2017, while about $213.7 million was spent to contract maritime security personnel protecting vessels in the region. It revealed that regional spending on law enforcement and naval patrols increased by $13.2 million in the year. The report also showed that 1,726 seafarers were affected last year, while 100 crewmembers were taken hostage.
Rear Admiral Seth Amoama, Chief of the Naval Staff, Ghana Navy said: “The Ghana Navy celebrates the 60th Anniversary this year under the theme Celebrating 60 years of Naval Excellence: Securing the Maritime Domain for National Development. As part of activities to commemorate the occasion, the Ghana Navy in partnership with Great Minds Events Management LLC, will host the International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference (IMDEC) at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel, Accra from 24- 25 July 2019. I look forward to welcoming you to Accra.
The Conference aims to create a platform for stakeholders, experts and solution providers in the maritime industry to converge to address the critical issues facing the Gulf of Guinea. It will also focus on strengthening interagency collaboration such as curbing regional security threats and interagency information sharing as well as systems integration. The exhibitions will showcase state of the art technologies as well as solutions tailored towards the needs of our maritime domain.
The Vice-President of Ghana announced government’s intentions to implement the First Port Duty Rule at Ghana’s ports in order to tackle smuggling arising from diverted transit goods supposedly meant for landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. He explained that under the First Port Duty Rule, customs officials of the landlocked nations will be stationed at Ghana’s ports, and the importer will be directed to the appropriate country desk to pay if indeed it is a transit good.
Unsafe, un-monitored anchorage areas vulnerable to threats at sea, Ghana ports and docks do not have enough capacity to load all cargo ships, nor the manpower to enforce Maritime Exclusion Zones. To address this, the Ghanaian Navy is procuring 4 patrol vessels ($7 mill.) and has recently received several patrol boats in the last few months. Ghana is creating a national maritime security framework endorsed by the Ghana Maritime Authority. However, $1.5 billion is being spent to enhance annual handling capacity at Tema port in Ghana.