• Coastal countries will receive 5.4 million euros worth of equipment
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission is working with the European Union (EU) to address maritime insecurity along the West African coast.
Meeting in Abuja to develop the framework known as the European Union-funded West Africa Integrated Maritime Security Support Project (SWAIMS), the meeting which attracted participants from all countries ECOWAS members, should review and refine the modalities for the distribution of essential maritime security equipment in ECOWAS riparian countries.
Speaking on the modalities of the meeting, the Head of the ECOWAS Regional Security Division, Colonel Abdourahmane Dieng, observed that maritime insecurity is one of the most persistent and intractable threats to maritime communities. and the economic prosperity of the sub-region.
He said that ECOWAS had launched its integrated maritime strategy in 2014 with parameters for the development of the blue economy based on a coherent security framework.
Recognizing that turning the tide against maritime insecurity is a collaborative effort and that no country or region can tackle it alone, ECOWAS, in collaboration with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), has formulated the Yaoundé Code of Conduct for regional maritime security throughout the Gulf of Guinea. But the security partnership goes beyond Africa, encompassing the European Union (EU) and other key international players outside the Gulf of Guinea, as the Gulf is of global importance as a road crucial international shipping.
Commenting on the initiative, the EU’s Senior Coordinator for the Gulf of Guinea, Ambassador Nicolas Berlanga Martinez, said: “The EU is a committed partner in the Gulf of Guinea region and will continue to provide extensive and targeted assistance to strengthen critical features of Yaoundé’s security architecture.
Among the ongoing efforts to address insecurity along the West African Corridor is the EU-funded ECOWAS project titled SWAIMS, a collaborative, complex and multi-component regional initiative implemented by various partners and covering 15 ECOWAS countries.
The meeting will finalize an agreement on the delivery of Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to each ECOWAS Coastal State which forms a crucial part of the SWAIMS project.
Martinez, who noted that Nigeria’s efforts to combat piracy in the Gulf of Guinea were already yielding results, said that Nigeria’s non-listing as a country victimized by piracy attacks by the International Maritime Bureau testifies to development.
His words: “The combined efforts of the security sector, law enforcement and prosecution in Nigeria, regional organizations, services of all ECOWAS riparian countries and international partners have all contributed to this result.
Boats and forensic equipment will be supplied to ECOWAS coastal countries by Portuguese Camões, IP. Camões, in close collaboration with the Portuguese Navy, will provide related training and maintenance.
“In financial terms, the delivery of RHIBs and forensic equipment worth more than five million euros is the most important component of the SWAIMS project.”
The SWAIMS Team Leader, said: “The vessels and equipment will significantly enhance the capacity of recipient countries to enforce the rule of law in their territorial waters and adjacent Exclusive Economic Zones.”