Paramount announces platinum sponsorship of IMDEC as West African piracy surges

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Paramount Group has announced its Platinum Sponsorship of the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEC) taking place from 6-8 July in Accra, Ghana.

Recognised as the largest annual African maritime security gathering, IMDEC 2021 takes place against the backdrop of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) having experienced a sharp rise in piracy and armed robberies during 2020, compromising maritime trade at a time when the industry in Africa was already weathering the economic shocks of the COVID-19 outbreak (a recent report by UNCTAD estimated the drop in Africa’s exports at -35%).

These scenarios stifled West African trade and transportation and highlighted a readiness gap in African maritime infrastructure across the continent at large, forcing an industry-wide rethink of modern maritime security and sustainability, Paramount said. They have underscored an urgency behind fostering greater innovation and Pan-African collaboration and a need to embolden resiliency in the face of a myriad of threats.

Senior Vice President of Paramount Group, Eric Ichikowitz stated: “As the world reeled from the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, often unreported was the landmark year for piracy and the rise in threats to maritime security. With nearly 200 incidents of piracy having taken place in 2020 alone, the highest number of total piracy attacks over the last three years, it is now more important than ever that African navies and the maritime industry come together at IMDEC, to engage in the necessary, constructive discourses to reinforce Africa’s primary gateway to the global marketplace.

“Over 90% of maritime kidnappings worldwide last year were reported to have taken place in the Gulf of Guinea. This is a staggering statistic that specifically impacts foreign direct investment, intra-African trade and our blue economies, representing the future potential of Africa’s maritime and coastal waters.”

IMDEC 2021 will host numerous West African Chiefs of Naval Staff and government leaders such as the Vice President of Ghana, Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, alongside representatives from intercontinental law enforcement agencies, industry experts and members of the international press community.

“We are proud to support our hosts, the Ghanaian Navy and Air Force, by sharing best practice and showcasing innovative, localised solutions to the threats facing Africa’s maritime industry. Furthermore, we are looking forward to spotlight breakthroughs in emerging counter-piracy operations primed to better safeguard the 6 000 km Gulf of Guinea coastline for the preservation of our continent’s vibrant blue ocean economies,” Ichikowitz said.

“We have a very strong and enduring relationship with the Ghanaian Navy and Air Force and it is a privilege to support IMDEC 2021 under their patronage. I congratulate the Ghanaian Navy and Air Force for hosting such an important gathering, appreciating the significant economic force multiplier to national and regional development that the maritime industry plays and diligently working alongside their fellow agencies and the private sector to secure our maritime domain”.

IMDEC 2021 will consist of robust panel discussions, breakout sessions and VIP exhibition walk-throughs of Ghana’s Air and Naval bases, as well as private vessel tours to further display the advanced capabilities of Ghana’s Naval and Air Force fleets, with the nation’s navy having recently celebrated over 60 years of maritime excellence.  Paramount Naval Systems will give a talk on controlling the seas on 7 July.

IMDEC serves as a timely opportunity for the hundreds of attendees participating to gain first-hand knowledge, share their product offerings and engage in meaningful dialogues regarding the potential for improving the effectiveness and versatility of marine vessels, mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on future maritime security operations and trade, implementing new technologies and commercial solutions to adapt to present-day challenges, localising production and enhancing mechanical repair and overhaul (MRO) services across the Gulf of Guinea through strategic investments and overviewing interagency approaches to greater regional cooperation, Paramount said.

“Paramount Group serves as a proud partner to numerous African navies, offering a wide range of advanced, multi-role naval vessels; from interceptor, light strike vessels to off-shore patrol vessels. In addition, the company has provided a myriad of systems installation and integration programmes, offering lifetime support in a local capacity, often accomplished through equipment upgrades installation and high-skills training. The company today leverages its 27 years of experience and expertise to develop and upgrade shore facilities in order for each of Paramount Group’s partners to operate more efficiently, economically and sustainably,” Paramount said in a press release.

“We are excited to join IMDEC 2021 in a Platinum Sponsorship capacity, an event we anticipate will foster newfound dialogue and best practices in how to expand the physical assets under African navies’ commands, as well as our continent’s ability to coordinate joint naval activities and inter-agency information sharing, to the benefit of the Gulf of Guinea and beyond,” Ichikowitz concluded.