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General News of Monday, 24 June 2019


Ghana’s maritime space is safe; but with challenges – Naval expert

Executive Director at the Centre for Maritime Law and Security, Dr. Kamal-Deen Ali Executive Director at the Centre for Maritime Law and Security, Dr. Kamal-Deen Ali

A naval expert has confirmed Ghana’s maritime space as safe but bridled with a number of challenges which must be addressed within the shortest possible time.

According to Dr. Kamal-Deen Ali, even though Ghana’s maritime space has proved viable against some internal and external illegalities, there aren’t enough legal frameworks to sustain it following the several security threats the country is facing.

Dr. Ali mentioned that two of the most important challenges threatening Ghana’s territorial waters peace is illegal fishing and the high spate of piracy at sea.

He said, “As a country, like many other countries, we have not been able to put in place effective laws and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that we secure our maritime space, to ensure that we prevent crime and to maximize the benefits that we have in the maritime space”.

“This region, which is called the Gulf of Guinea is one of the regions where we have a lot of piracy cases and kidnappings that take place at sea. And this has implication for our peace and security as a country….”

Statistics indicate that the number of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea increases each year.

“...Our territorial waters as a state is safe but it is not without challenges. The first challenge which is more dear to me is illegal fishing and illegal activities relating to fishing. Any right-thinking nation would do anything to protect what it eats. The second issue when it comes to safety and security is the question of piracy. Piracy is very rampant in the Gulf of Guinea. This is a threat to us as a country...” Dr Ali noted.

He further underscored the importance of Ghana’s territorial waters to the socio-economic development, thus, the need for a swift move to implement security mechanism to safeguard the future of the country’s maritime space.

As part of efforts to secure territorial waters safety and clamp down criminal activities perpetrated at sea, Dr. Kamal-Deen Ali urged government to ensure sustainable implementation mechanisms.

Meanwhile, assessments and fact-finding missions by UNODC has revealed that no state bordering the Gulf of Guinea possesses the necessary combination of jurisdictional provisions, offense-creating legislation, and judicial capacity needed to undertake prosecutions against piracy.

Dr Kamal-Deen Ali was speaking at the ongoing three-day workshop being organized by the UNODC with financial support from the European Union.

The workshop is aimed at strengthening the capacities of the twenty prosecutors, judges and law enforcement officers as well as the legal adviser of Ghana. It will also allow criminal justice actors to better understand the context, the legal instruments and the existing jurisdictions in the field of maritime safety and the fight against maritime crime.