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Stakeholders discuss maritime security strategy

By: Maclean Kwofi
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Stakeholders at the Ghana Maritime Security Strategy meeting.
Stakeholders at the Ghana Maritime Security Strategy meeting.

A COMPREHENSIVE policy to provide the framework for a successful management of resources within the country's maritime domain by safeguarding its security sovereignty and economic interest is near completion.

Known as the Ghana Maritime Security Strategy, the document which is at its final stage of completion, recognises the existing state of affairs and provides a vision for the present and future. It is spearheaded by the Ghana National Maritime Authority (GMA) and National Maritime Security Committee (NMSC).

Need for the policy
Opening a meeting to seek input from stakeholders to be incorporated into the draft Maritime Security Strategy document on Tuesday, September 24 in Accra, the Minister of National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, said the development of the policy started four years ago.

"In 2015, when the National Security Council Secretariat began collaborating with GMA on the National Maritime Security Strategy, maritime piracy, armed robbery at sea and bunkering had just started to rear their heads.

"Today, maritime crime has reached an all-time high with the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) having overtaken even the Gulf of Aden, in East Africa, in piracy and other criminal activities.

"From an economic and national security perspective, this strategy requires our collective support, and that support needs to be hastened; it is long overdue given the gravity of the maritime security situation we have out there," he said.

Mr Kan-Dapaah explained that the document provided not only a good threat and vulnerability assessment, it also gave an approach founded on five security active categories, which should attract the attention of stakeholders.

"As you consider, however, strategic options available to the state, remember that the maritime space is inherently a foreign relations environment, this concept should shine through our foreign policy at sea."

Stakeholders input
The Vice Chairman of the National Maritime Security Committee, Commodore Steve Dabo, observed that the policy was ready in a draft form but stakeholders needed to make their inputs before it would be presented to Cabinet for consideration.

He said he was hopeful that by the end of this year, the strategic document would be completed and approved by Cabinet for its implementation.

As a growing threat and potential demand for a comprehensive response, Commodore Dabo said it was imperative for a document that provided national strategy to enhance the security of Ghana's maritime domain.

“The strategy provide a framework for the successful management of resources within the country's maritime domain thereby safeguarding its national security sovereignty and economic interest.

“The country's maritime domain contained resources when fully tapped into will provide additional resources to strengthen the ongoing development effort, including food and energy security.

“Development is an essential foundation for stability and sustainable peace in the country but this process of development is impossible to achieve with absence of security both on land and the maritime domain.

“While considerable attention and resources have been directed towards achieving security on land, similar effort to secure the country's maritime domain has been feeble mainly because the maritime dimension was historically ignored in most national strategies,” he added.