The European Union has donated security hardware including 30 rigid-hull inflatable boats and forensic equipment to the Economic Community of West African States to tackle maritime crime and other security challenges in West Africa.
This was disclosed at a maritime security seminar convened by ECOWAS in Abuja on Monday under the framework of the European Union-funded Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security project.
The equipment, estimated at €5 million, is expected to help security agencies in Nigeria and 11 other coastal ECOWAS states in combating maritime crime.
The other beneficiaries include Benin, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.
The boats and equipment were provided under the EU-funded ECOWAS project tagged The Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security (SWAIMS) project, a multi component, regional initiative implemented in all 15 ECOWAS countries.
The Head of ECOWAS’ Regional Security Division, Col. Abdourahmane Dieng, said that maritime insecurity has long been one of the most persistent and intractable threats to maritime communities and economic prosperity in West Africa.
Dieng, however, said that West African countries require a coordinated response to tackle the scourge of attacks, piracy and armed robberies against the Vessels.
“For that we have developed an ECOWAS integrated maritime strategy around five pillars to ensure security in the fifteen member states within the ECOWAS maritime domain.
“And also reinforce our capacity in terms of managing our maritime environment and also developing our capacity in terms of the blue economy, and also develop our culture in terms of maritime.
“We are receiving support from our partners, the main partners coming in is the European Union and today we are also here together with SWAIMS to try to capacitate the member states.
“By providing them with Rigid Inflatable boats that allow the Member states to fight against illegal fishing through some paroling in the maritime domain.
“Today, all the Member States are represented by their relevant agencies and also representatives to discuss drafting an agreement for the sharing of the rigid inflatable boats. And also try to develop the modalities of the way to capacitate the member states to be able to use them today,” Dieng said.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.