The ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre (MMCC) Zone F, has commenced a three-day training seminar for its new and old staff to enlighten them on the nexus between maritime law activities, security and operations at sea.
The seminar on Maritime Law and Operations, was part of efforts towards the regional cooperative fight against maritime crime particularly piracy, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities and other illicit maritime activities that were gaining grounds in the Gulf of Guinea region especially ECOWAS.
Commander Yussif Benning, the Acting Director of MMCC Zone F, at the opening ceremony of the seminar in Accra, on Monday, said the seminar was also to promote its vision of being the Centre of Excellence in the maritime space with actionable maritime information.
He said the seminar was also an opportunity for participants across the region to know and understand each other to form a formidable team to fight maritime crime.
Commander Bennign explained that in 2013, the Gulf of Guinean countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together within a framework called the 'Yaoundé Architecture for Maritime Security and Safety at Sea'.
As a result, the Gulf of Guinea had been broken down into maritime zones among states across the region, to enable them to work together and respond to issues of maritime security.
The seminar in that regard would enlighten them on maritime, he said, adding: "Maritime operations must be grounded in law to make it easy to prosecute offenders."
The Maritime Zone F covers Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Burkina Faso.
The Acting Director explained that the Maritime Zone was created as part of efforts to ensure that the old and new who were being deplored at the centre were brought up to speed as Maritime Law and Operations demanded.
Dr. Kamal-Deen Ali, the Executive Director, Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa (CEMLAWS Africa), said the training was important as the law was pivotal to sustaining maritime operations and justified the actions being taken on marine life.
He recommended that the training programme was deepened to put the regions in readiness to respond to maritime issues.
Colonel Abdourahman Dieng, the Head of ECOWAS Regional Security Division, said the international staff had met the centres for vital information, to be the primary point of contact for credible, accurate relevant and timely sharing of Maritime Safety and Security information among Zone F member states and international partners.
The seminar was organised with the support of the European Union Support to ECOWAS Regional Peace, Security and Stability, Mandate Programme (ECOWAS-EU PSS) and CEMLAWS AFRICA.