The European Union is Supporting Maritime Safety Training in the Gulf of Guinea, from 2021 to 2024

The Gulf of Guinea is threatened by various illegal activities, which endanger maritime activities in this region and have adverse effects on the economy, subsistence, and international trade.

For several decades, the maritime area of ​​the Gulf of Guinea, which includes the States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has been threatened by various illegal activities, including piracy, armed robbery against ships, money laundering, trafficking in arms, people and drugs, illegal fishing or even deliberate marine pollution. These transnational criminal activities endanger not only the economic development of the region and the livelihoods of local communities, but also international trade as a whole.

In order to address these challenges, which directly affect the development potential of the maritime domain of the States of the Gulf of Guinea, in particular those of ECOWAS, and undermine efforts to promote economic development and regional integration, the Union European Union awarded a grant to the Interregional Maritime Safety Institute (ISMI) of the Regional Academy of Marine Sciences and Techniques (ARSTM). It will aim to implement a capacity building program called FORMAR (Maritime Training), which is part of the SWAIMS program: Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security or Support to the integrated maritime security of Africa. ‘Where is.

Worth 1.5 million euros (1 billion FCFA), this grant will finance 16 training cycles between 2021 and 2024 and is part of the EU support for the Maritime Strategy Integrated by ECOWAS. The first training will start in January 2021.

The various themes that will be dealt with during this training cycle will help strengthen the technical capacities of civilian and military professionals from ECOWAS States working in national and regional centers for the coordination of maritime operations. These centers constitute the backbone of Yaoundé’s Maritime Security Architecture, particularly with regard to the prosecution and adjudication of maritime crimes and offenses.

As underlined by Cdt Abe, Coordinator of the FORMAR project, “the EU’s support will also make it possible to diversify and strengthen the training offer of ISMI, which has already benefited from the Action Support Program. of the State at Sea in the Gulf of Guinea financed by France. “

This training program, which is scheduled to start in January 2021, will be provided by the best experts, for nearly 400 auditors who will come from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali , Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Togo and Mauritania.

Image courtesy: U.S. Navy