Ghana approves armed security guards on vessels

The Ghanaian government has granted a British private security firm the licence to have armed guards aboard Ghana-based vessels.

From the end of June 2015, Watchwood Resources Ltd (WRL) will be able to accompany armed Ghana Marine Police aboard commercial vessels within Ghana’s Exclusive Economic Zone, providing security services.

“We have been working on getting an agreement signed since the middle of last year and it’s just been approved,” Director at WRL, Jonathan Stamper, told IHS Maritime.

“Until now, no armed foreign nationals have been allowed to board vessels within territorial waters, but we hope that if we can demonstrate that it is a viable option, other states in the region may adopt the use of qualified security officers,” he said.

WRL have formed a joint venture creating Watchwood Ghana Ltd (WGL), based in the port of Tema, Ghana and is made up of senior Ghanaian government representatives and British security experts. It is chaired by Ghana’s Commissioner of Police, David Asante-Apeatu.

“We are proposing a joint team of three to four Ghanaian marine police officers per vessel with the equivalent number of trained British security officers,” said Stamper.

Although it has secured a deal in Ghana, WRL is not currently planning to offer their services to the wider region of West Africa. “It would be nice to go to Nigeria, but we want to get our operations up and running first,” Stamper told IHS Maritime.

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