Maritime Security: ECOWAS Achieves 'Significant Progress' in Reducing Pirate Attacks
16:54 19.10.2023 (Updated: 16:55 19.10.2023)
Earlier this week, the Economic Community of West African States organized the 3rd Meeting of its Sub-Committee of the Chiefs of Naval Staff in Lome, Togo. The meeting aimed to review and assess the operations and functionality of the bloc's Maritime Centers.
In a significant stride towards bolstering maritime security, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS
) has reported a substantial reduction in pirate attacks. This revelation came to light during a recent meeting of the ECOWAS Chiefs of Naval Staff in Togo, aimed at enhancing maritime operations and curbing illicit activities at sea
The two-day summit, held in Togo’s capital, Lome, served as a platform for evaluating the performance and effectiveness of ECOWAS’s maritime centers.
The insights gleaned from this evaluation are expected to bolster maritime operations and provide effective countermeasures against illicit maritime activities in the ECOWAS region.
"The primary purpose of this meeting is to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of the ECOWAS Maritime Centres, which will provide valuable insights for improving maritime operations and effectively dealing with illicit maritime activities in the ECOWAS region," the bloc said in a statement.
The meeting saw participation from representatives of the ECOWAS Commission, personnel from ECOWAS Maritime Centers, and Chiefs of Naval Staff and Heads of Operations from member states.
Barros Bacar Banjai, the ECOWAS permanent representative in Togo, highlighted the "
made in reducing maritime attacks
. According to him, the number of such incidents has seen a steady decline from 68 in 2018 to 50 in 2019, further decreasing to 18 in 2021 and 15 in 2022.
Banjai attributed this success to the cooperation and coordination among member states and the international community. He emphasized the pivotal role played by Multinational Maritime Coordination Centers (MMCCs) in the ECOWAS maritime security architecture.
"These centres, along with the Regional Centre for Maritime Security in West Africa (CRESMAO) in Cote d'Ivoire, have significantly enhanced maritime security in the region and have led to a decrease in piracy and theft incidents at sea," ECOWAS said.
The regional bloc has established several maritime centers to enhance maritime security in the region, including CRESMAO, as part of the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy (EIMS), which was adopted in March 2014.
The EIMS consists of five strategic objectives: maritime governance, maritime safety and security, management of the marine environment, ECOWAS maritime economy, and maritime research and sensitization.
CRESMAO supports the implementation of the EIMS by coordinating the operational activities of the other MMCCs and providing information management and exchange, operational monitoring, crisis coordination, training and capacity building.