Maritime security depends on the capacity of national authorities to develop effective port security plans and procedures and the ability to self-audit according to the International Maritime Organisation.
A regional workshop for participants from 11 countries in the Gulf of Guinea, in Tema, Ghana earlier this month helped build national capacity to enhance port security.
Training focused on how to establish multi-agency port and port facility security and facilitation committees with specific terms of reference; and on drafting port facility security assessments and plans. A third key area included tailored technical expertise on ships and port facilities security, maritime situational awareness, the conduct of harmonised maritime security control and compliance, information sharing, mutual support, contingency planning, joint operations and response based on existing infrastructure.
Lectures addressed piracy, armed robbery and other illicit maritime activities. Key instruments covered included the IMO maritime security measures in SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code, as well as the ILO/IMO Code of practice on security in ports. Participants visited the port of Tema to see how measures can be implemented.
The programme to enhance port security in west and central Africa was funded by the Government of Denmark. National training workshops on port security and facilitation, with a specific focus on tackling the issue of stowaways (in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal and Sierra Leone) fed into the final regional workshop.
Countries represented at the Ghana workshop were Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.