ECOWAS plans to up maritime security

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ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Chiefs of Naval Staff met in Togo this week to strengthen maritime operations and combat illicit maritime activities by way of evaluating effectiveness and performance of its maritime centres.

This, according to a statement issued after the two-day meeting in the capital Lomé, will provide “valuable insights for improving maritime operations and effectively dealing with illicit maritime activities in the ECOWAS region.”

Participants included ECOWAS Commission representatives as well as personnel from ECOWAS Maritime Centres, member states” Chiefs of Naval Staff and Heads of Operations.

ECOWAS permanent representative in Togo, Barros Bacar Banjai, noted “significant progress” in bringing down the number of maritime attacks, from 68 in 2018, to 50 in 2019, decreasing to 18 in 2021 and 15 in 2022. This, he said, was because of co-operation and co-ordination among member states and the international community.

Multinational maritime co-ordination centres (MMCCs) are crucial in the ECOWAS maritime security architecture. The centres, along with the Regional Centre for Maritime Security in West Africa (CRESMAO) in Côte d’Ivoire, significantly enhance maritime security and led to a decrease in piracy and theft incidents at sea.