Accra, Jan. 28, GNA – The Regional Maritime University (RMU) has commenced a six-week Support for West Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (SWAIMS) training programme on Maritime Affairs and Security in Accra.
The 300,000-Euro funded programme by the European Union is a three-year training, which is a follow-up to the previously organised Maritime Security training course known as the Gulf of Guinea Interregional Network.
The programme is coordinated by Mr Augustine Addy-Lamptey, Consultant and the Project Coordinator for SWAIMS with topics, including Maritime Security, Maritime Environmental Security, Blue Economy Security, Maritime Crisis Management, and Fisheries Security and Governance.
Professor Elvis Nyarko, the Vice-Chancellor of RMU, speaking at the opening of the training said it was to increase the technical capacity of professionals working at the national and the Regional Centres, which were the backbone of the Yaoundé maritime security architecture.
He said the incidence of piracy kept occurring in the Gulf of Guinea and that re-emphasized the relevance of the training programme.
He said the support from the EU was a grant awarded to the RMU to organize the operational training of personnel in Maritime Security from countries within ECOWAS within the framework of SWAIMS.
He said a similar training programme was being run for French-speaking ECOWAS countries at their sister institution, the Academie Regionale des Sciences et Techniques de la Mer in Abidjan.
Participates came from various government departments in countries within the English speaking ECOWAS countries The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
He expressed the hope that the training programme would enhance the professional competencies of Maritime Professionals and Security personnel.
It would also promote the culture of intra and inter-agency communication, trans-national co-operation and information sharing within the maritime security domain of the Gulf of Guinea making them better equipped and prepared to respond to maritime security threats.
“It is therefore expected that the topics to be treated will focus on strategies which will strengthen the collaboration among maritime authorities, security agencies, legal authorities, shipping lines and other maritime players to effectively tackle maritime piracy and other related crimes,” he added.
Commander Yussif Benning, the Acting Director of the ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordinating Centre, said the training was aimed at building the competency of the various Maritime focused Agency across the West African Sub-Region.
He said the Maritime crimes, unreported unregulated activities and related crimes had become transnational and one of the strategies to curb these crimes was collaboration and coordination.
He said, “we need to marshal effort among various Maritime Law enforcement and other stakeholders across the region to fight these crimes.”
Commander Benning said to work together there was the need to be able to bring all stakeholders to ensure a common understanding of issues and the strategies to collectively fight the crime.