African military chiefs to convene urgent conference on maritime security

Vice Admiral DJ Ezeoba, the Chief of Naval Staff of Nigeria, responding to the increase of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, has called an international conference of military chiefs and politicians to bring resolution to the matter.

Dubai, 30 June 2013 - The waters around West Africa are considered some of the most insecure in the world, with the International Maritime Bureau announcing in June 2013 that for the first time piracy incidents in West Africa have overtaken ones occurring off Somalia. The Nigerian Navy has therefore taken a lead in organising Offshore Patrol Vessels Africa, a summit which occurs in Lagos on 27-29 August. The Nigerian Navy will be accompanied by senior Naval Chiefs from Ghana, South Africa, Djibouti and Tanzania amongst many other Africa nations. Lending their expertise from around the world, admirals from Germany, Malaysia, USA and Spain are also lecturing at the conference.

Rear Admiral E.O. Ogbor, Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Navy, said: "Undoubtedly, many littoral African countries have considerable oil and gas reserves, bountiful fisheries and viable Sea Lanes of Communication. Despite this, we can all agree that maritime insecurity and illegal activities at sea threaten to undermine the great potential of this continent and therefore no time can be spared in discussing and implementing decisive solutions to our common problems."

A study by advocacy group Oceans Beyond Piracy in June estimated piracy in the Gulf of Guinea cost the world economy between $740 million and $950 million last year, and this cost is expected to rise in 2013.

"No country can withstand the growing challenges individually. That is why we agreed to put our efforts together to end the illicit activities in the Gulf of Guinea" Chad's President Idriss Deby, who chairs the Economic Community of Central African States, told a news conference.

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