Abidjan 9th March 2018. In accordance with the desire to bolster regional Maritime Security Architecture, the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has taken delivery of a range of technical equipment from the government of Germany.
Consisting of 63 high tech communication, surveillance, monitoring, conferencing, visualization, logistics items and other accessories, the equipment including their components were handed over to the regional organization during a ceremony which took place at the West Africa Maritime Regional Safety Center (CRESMAO), in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on the 7th of March 2018.
Expressing delight at the gesture of the German government, the Resident Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission to Cote d’Ivoire, Ambassador Babacar Carlos Mbaye, stated that the efficient manner with which CRESMAO has handled the coordination and set up of the equipment owes much to the support that ECOWAS received from Germany through its development agency, the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
The support, he maintained, gives the ECOWAS Commission the confidence that the equipment will contribute to the continued effectiveness of the centre in the coordination of the multinational maritime centres that are so essential to the operationalization of the maritime security architecture of the Gulf of Guinea.
“There is little doubt in the eyes of those in charge that because of their quantity and quality these equipment will strengthen CRESMAO’s capacity for action” Ambassador Mbaye added.
The deputy German ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Alexandre Callegaro, referred to the important role which the gulf of Guinea plays in international relations especially as a viable trade route witnessing the extraction of crude oil between Angola and Ghana.
To adequately secure the area, he stressed the need for countermeasures to be directed against not only criminal acts at sea but also “against organized criminal structures and the economic interests that support them”
He said it was for this reason that the Government of Germany has made available to the four coordination centers including the CRESMAO of technical equipment with a total value of 1.2 million euros (about 790 million CFA)
Coastal radars are owned by the various countries in the region but the Centre ensures quality information sharing. Giving a detailed briefing on the state and use of the equipment the Director of the CRESMAO Cote d’Ivoire Senior Captain Boniface K. Konan, explained that the equipment will aid greater coordination of maritime safety efforts and gives the region a “vision of what is going on. So that in crisis, the Centre becomes an efficient back up and helps to solve it”
The Ivorian Permanent Secretary of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (State at Sea) Mr. Abroulaye Fofana who chaired the occasion assured ECOWAS, the development partners and the international community at large of the continuous support of the government of Cote d’Ivoire for all cooperation measures aimed at securing the common regional coastline.
The equipment were delivered under the watch of GIZ whose Head of Programme Mr. Ludwig Kirchner was also on hand for an agreement signing which gave a legal seal to the equipment transfer, done on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission by the Head, Regional Security Division Col Dieng Abdourahmane.
The regional maritime cooperation initiative is part of the international security partnership. The development of the ECOWAS Maritime Security Architecture is based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2018 (2011)/ 2039 (2012), which had been issued at the height of piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea as shipping routes in the region became a threat to international peace and security. There currently exists a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC), ECOWAS and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)
The cooperation will aid the functioning of the ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordination Centres (MMCC) based in Benin, Ghana and Cabo Verde and the regional coordination Centre in Cote d’Ivoire.