The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has called for a stronger collaborative effort to deal with the high emerging risk associated with the maritime domain as a result of the rising profitability in the seas of the Gulf of Guinea region.
According to him, piracy, illegal bunkering and other illicit activities have been on the rise in the Gulf of Guinea within the last decade.
He said available records from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) indicate that in the first quarter of 2021, the Gulf of Guinea recorded 38 reported incidents of piracy activities.
The Q1 2021 IMB Piracy Report further revealed that the Gulf of Guinea accounted for 43 per cent of all reported incidents, including both fired upon incidents as well as hijacking.
The region also accounted for all 40-crew kidnapping and crew fatality.
These, he noted, had resulted in insurance companies charging higher insurance premiums, making cost of maritime operations very expensive within the region.
“We have to work and plan together because now our maritime domain is becoming more profitable. Once your maritime domain is becoming more viable, it means the risk is also high. So, we need to work together and see how best we can minimize this risk to our advantage. Insurance premium in our maritime domain is one of the highest in the world, simply because of this risk associated with maritime domain,” he noted.
Owing to the seriousness of the situation, the Minister said the Ministries of National Security, Defence, Interior, Transport, Energy and Communications were in talks to see how they could make the Gulf of Guinea safe for smooth operations.
He added that he was aware of Harmonised Standard Operating Procedure (HSOP) for Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies being developed by the National Maritime Security Committee, with funding from the UNODC.
This is expected to improve operations between the plethora of agencies with mandates within the maritime domain by making them seamless, efficient and more effective.
Mr Asiamah made this observation when a team from the Centre for Maritime Law and Security (CEMLAWS), led by Dr Kamal Deen-Ali, paid a courtesy call on him to congratulate him on his reappointment as the Minister of Transport.
The call by the think-tank was also meant to strengthen its relationship with the Ministry of Transport, having worked with the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) for some years now.
Dr Kamal-Deen, who was enthused about the enormous work that had gone into the country’s maritime domain, presented a plague to the Minister in recognition of his good works for the maritime industry and Ghana in general.