A vessel in the Gulf of Guinea

From 24th to 25th July, the Ghanaian Navy will host over 10 Chiefs of Navies from across Africa at at the International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (IMDEC) in Accra to fashion out how to arrest the increasing problems of piracy, illegal fishing and banditry in the Gulf of Guinea.

Attending the conference are 250 international senior officials from Navies, Coast Guards and Marine Police, including Nigeria’s own NIMASA.

The multi-dimensional threats in the Gulf of Guinea threaten the region’s economic development, especially as it has earned the notoriety as the most unsafe waters in the world.

The conference, which coincides with 60 years of Ghanaian Navy, hopes to evolve joint capabilities to change the narration.

IMDEC’s ribbon cutting ceremony will be attended by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Dominic Aduna Bingab Nitiwul, Minister of Defence, Ghana, Lt. Gen. Obed Akwa, Chief of Defence Staff, Ghana Armed Forces, Rear Admiral Seth Amoama, Chief of Naval Staff, Ghana Navy, Air Vice Marshal F Hanson, Chief of Air Staff.

Khalila Baldwin organiser of the confab in Accra

Rear Admiral Seth Amoama, Chief of Naval Staff, Ghana Navy, will present the Opening keynote speech, titled: Ghana Navy – past, present and the future. This will be followed by a panel discussion titled: Maritime Forces: Joint Operations and strengthening interoperability. The discussion will be moderated by Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo, former Chief of the Naval Staff, Ghana, with Nigeria’s Navy Captain Rene Nganongo participating.

Khalila Baldwin, IMDEC’s Conference Director said: “Our vision is for IMDEC to become the premier gathering of maritime leaders within the Gulf of Guinea. In keeping with this year’s theme, empowering collaboration to enhance maritime security, we are happy to host maritime agencies from across Africa, Europe, Asia, North and South America as well as the globes leading solution providers to collectively improve maritime security.”

“Further, it is our distinct pleasure to host this event alongside the Ghana Navy during their 60th Anniversary celebrations”Baldwin added.

Commander Oded Breier, Vice President Marketing, Israel Shipyards Ltd will present a speech about current threats and solutions for the maritime and coastal defence. While Admiral James Foggo, Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, and U.S. Naval Forces Africa, will discuss International Collaboration Insights.

This will be f ollowed by a session titled: CNS Insights: Highlighting achievements and capabilities of Nigeria’s naval programs as well as their projections for advancing information sharing and overcoming criminality at sea, by Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff, Nigeria Navy.

The next Executive Panel Discussion will dwell on countering piracy operations within the Gulf of Guinea, through collaboration of all the navies.

Rear Admiral Momar Diagne, Chief of Naval Staff, Senegal Navy will be uncovering the methods used by the Senegal’s maritime forces to monitor and patrol territorial waters as well as defining their commitment to ongoing counter-piracy operations within the GoG.

Ghana Navy personnel

The second day of IMDEC, July 25th will start with a panel discussion titled: Interagency approaches to secure critical infrastructure, with the purpose of discussing Coordination between navies, coastal guards, law enforcement and the oil sector, and the importance of increasing the monitoring of critical infrastructure and national resources through collaboration of oil and gas companies, emergency responders and law enforcement bodies.

Implementing targeted task forces such as operation Ex Toru-Gbown in Nigeria to jointly and forcefully interdict crude oil theft, and combining resources (such as vessels, fast interceptor crafts and trained local personnel) to better combat militants, are among the topics to be highlighted in this discussion.

Dr. Dakuku Peterside, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency will present a keynote speech on Collective maritime administration and partnership, explaining the increasing regulations and management related to shipping, maritime labor and coastal waters of a nation and the importance of strengthening maritime administrations across Africa within cooperative frameworks, in addition to benchmarking existing partnerships between maritime forces and administration bodies to outline the necessity of collaboration.