Experts from Ghana’s Maritime Security sector urged for more investment towards enhancing maritime security, in order to protect Ghana’s territorial waters, after the rise in maritime security threats across the West African sub-region.
Speaking on local media, the Executive Director, Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa, Naval Capt. RTD Dr. Kamal Deen-Ali called for the creation of a maritime security fund to tackle insecurity threats more efficiently.
We should have a maritime security fund. A fund that we draw in money from the various sources from which we raise money: Port charges, Oil and gas and other services that we provide. So let’s put something together and build a fund and from that fund you can be able to tool and operationalize the navy and the other security agencies
In addition, the Commander of the Marine, Port and Railways Unit of the Ghana Police, Chief Superintendent Joseph Antwi-Ababio, revealed that the operational cost of manning patrol boats are a major challenge. For this reason, he called for reliable funding sources for maritime security activities.
As he explained, the national integrated maritime strategy that is being drafted, must take into consideration the proposed maritime security fund and its efficient management.
Continuing, the Tema Port Security Manager, Col. Joseph Malik Punamane suggested that air patrol could become an additional means of securing Ghana’s territorial waters. However, he is worried that as Ghana’s state security agencies are working hard to keep its territorial waters safe, the insecurity experienced in neighbouring countries along the Gulf of Guinea, may make Ghana’s hard work futile.
In the same wavelength, Dr. Kamal Deen-Ali, stated that Ghana’s trump card of good security is losing its influence. This is because the country’s international trading partners are more likely to perform a regional assessment when conducting business decisions than assess Ghana in isolation.
Nevertheless, he said abductions for ransom and kidnappings have increased, indicating that human lives are now more at risk than ever.
Regarding the Gulf of Guinea, Dr. Kamal Deen-Ali added that it has proven to be a target zone for pirates and armed robbers, due to the general insecurity in the area that has extended onto the maritime domain. He highlighted that the Niger Delta is a breeding ground for well-equipped maritime criminals and this would remain so, if the area continues to be ungovernable.
To address these problems, he called for a holistic approach to tackling maritime security to include both land and sea. As he said:
Iimproving the social-economic welfare of the society is so vital in mitigating the growth of alleged militia group involved in the criminal acts
Finally, Chief Superintendent Joseph Antwi-Ababio, explained how beneficial a structured community is to policing, adding that communication to acquire information is important to having the necessary intelligence to act on and prevent organized crime.