Presentation on theme: "“THE IMPORTANCE OF SECURITY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA REGION AS A MARITIME TRANSPORT ROUTE” PRESENTED AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PEACE AND SECURITY."— Presentation transcript:
“THE IMPORTANCE OF SECURITY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA REGION AS A MARITIME TRANSPORT ROUTE” PRESENTED AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PEACE AND SECURITY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA REGION BY FERDINAND N. AGU, MFR SENIOR SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF THE GOVERNMENT OF FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA 27 TH -29 TH NOV. 2012
1.0 INTRODUCTION 2.0 OVERVIEW OF THE GULF OF GUINEA 3.0 THE STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF THE GULF OF GUINEA SHIPPING ROUTE 4.0 SECURITY ISSUES AND CHALLENGES 5.0 PIRACY AND OIL THEFT IN GULF OF GUINEA 6.0 REQUIREMENTS FOR ENHANCED SECURITY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA AS A SHIPPING ROUTE 6.1 STATES AND REGIONAL ORGANISATIONS 6.2 NAVAL FORCES 6.3 LEGAL REGIME FOR PROSECUTION AND PUNISHMENT OF PIRACY 6.4 INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND PARTNERS 7.0 THE WAY FORWARD 8.0 CONCLUSION
1.0INTRODUCTION: The sea is vital to the survival of mankind. The resources that abound in the sea are vast, at times beyond imagination. What we know and value today may yet pale into insignificance when tomorrow reveals even more wonders and our future generations are able to seize the new opportunities. Today, over 80% of goods and cargo for international trade and commerce are seaborne. Consequently, all regions and nations share the common desire to: use the sea safely, securely, fully and wisely; to ensure the safe transit of cargoes and people on all waters; protect their maritime borders from intrusion; rescue those that may become distressed in voyage; and prevent misuse of the oceans. These shared interests are pillars of the law of the seas. They are affirmed in various international conventions and municipal statures. The rights and obligations of nations and persons for safety of navigation, secure and clean oceans are explicit.
* The Gulf of Guinea is a part of the Atlantic Ocean. The importance and imperatives of security, safe navigation and freedom of the seas within and along its shipping route(s) are self- evident. So, why do the Gulf of Guinea region and its maritime domain attract such considerable interest? * In the Gulf of Guinea and beyond, this is a period of unique and renewed hope. Every decade nations discover sea-based fortunes hitherto unknown, bequest of a benevolent fate. Prospects now abound for the transformations, prosperity and human security. Can we seize the moment? Do we have the regional will and international goodwill to overcome the challenges of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea maritime domain? This paper explores some of the challenges and their concomitants.
For the purpose of this presentation we shall consider the Gulf of Guinea (GG) region as the 5,500 km coastal arch stretching from Senegal in West Africa through Cameron in Central Africa to Angola on the Atlantic coast. The maritime domain comprises the sum of the 12 nautical miles Territorial Waters; 24 nautical miles Contiguous Zones and 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zones of the respective countries within the region. It includes things on, under, relating to, adjacent to or bordering on the sea, navigable waterway, infrastructure, people, cargo and vessels. The gulf serves a hinterland with a population of over 350 million people that are heavily reliant on the Gulf’s maritime resources and seaborne trade
3.0 THE STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF THE GULF OF GUINEA SHIPPING ROUTE In the words of Rear Admiral Alfred T. Mahan; “the strategic value of any place depends upon three principal conditions: Its position, or more exactly its situation The resources of the place itself and of the surrounding country and; Its military strength, offensive and defensive”
The Gulf of Guinea region easily satisfies the first two conditions. Its deficiencies in the third condition underlie the current security challenge. The GG is important hosts shipping lanes and port and off-shore facilities are part of the global maritime transportation system and are thus an integral part of the free transit of international/regional trade and commerce. You will recall that when, years ago, crisis led to the closure of the Suez Canal. GG and Cape of Good Hope served as the alternate for maritime trade between Europe /North Atlantic and Asia/ Far East Pacific regions. Usually, the GG shipping route and facilities serves the: * Export/import of goods for the Coastal states and the neighbouring land- locked countries * Regional and national coastwise transportation and trade * The logistics needs services that sustain the exploration and exploitation of the sea-based resources of the Region.
GULF OF GUINEA: A OIL SHIPPING ROUTE The GG region has proven hydrocarbon reserves of 50.4 billion barrels and currently produces 5.4 million barrels per day with an array productive activities ranging from exploration to transportation of crude oil and gas onboard expensive high very high value shipping asset (Tanker and LNG carriers). Thus the GG shipping route is assuming greater importance as an energy corridor and activity hub in the global energy industry.
4.0 SECURITY ISSUES AND CHALLENGES Traditionally, the people and governments of the region are more land-centric than seaward in outlook. As a consequence, in the past, there was insufficient maritime domain awareness and no concerted efforts to properly secure the shipping routes. Inadequate maritime governance translates to national and regional inability to exert effective control over sea territory or to ensure the rule of law. Thus there is a rising tide of violence, criminality and illegal activities that now challenge the capacity of national and regional authorities. It will be sufficient to limit ourselves to the most violent, vicious and subversive of those challenges: Piracy and armed sea robbery Resource (Oil) Theft at sea There are challenges that are important but which I shall not belabour for and of time: Smuggling and Drug Trafficking
. The International maritime Organisation (IMO) defines piracy as “any illegal act of violence or detention, or any act of deprivation, committed for private ends by the crews or passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft and directed on the high seas against another ship or against persons or property on board such ship”. Sea robbery, on the other hand is “the commission of these acts in ports or terminal waters”. Of 1434 piracy attacks reported in Africa in 2011, GG alone accounted for 427 attacks. In 2012, attacks in the Gulf of Guinea were even more alarming in number; and more violent against crews. It is the most serious challenge to the region that serves as a shipping route for large quantities of oil, cocoa and metals for the global market.
Theft of oil resources in the Gulf of Guinea began years back as what we call “illegal bunkering”. In its original form, IT was an economic crime but not necessarily an act of piracy. Now, it is mostly a piratical enterprise by local criminals in collaboration with international syndicates. It is piracy with a targeted specialization. Nigeria is the major victim. The number of incidents is hard to establish but the loss of national revenue is estimated at about $5 - $7 billion annually. Yet, it would be a mistake for anyone to regard this as a localized challenge
I must highlight the gravity of this crime and opine that it is not checked, oil resource theft it will proliferate in the region. It will do so with dire economic consequences and very adverse political, economic and human security implications for the entire Gulf of Guinea.
The rise of piracy and oil resource theft in the Gulf of Guinea is due to a combination of: * weak institutions and uncoordinated regional responses * unfettered access to small arms and light weapons (from smuggling). * lack of prosecution mechanisms. There are urgent reasons and the need for collective regional counter-piracy strategies. If we are to keep the Gulf of Guinea shipping routes and maritime prospects in good order, then there can be no room for piracy or oil thieves anywhere in the region. Nations are different but the sea is one. At sea, a risk to one is a risk to all unless there is adequate security or deterrence. The integrity of global shipping, international navigation, safety and welfare of seafarers are at risk. Piracy costs the shipping industry and Governments about $7 billion each year By undermining the economies of countries, piracy threatens the political stability of the region and impacts negatively on international peace and security
* Proceeds of piracy, oil theft and other crimes in the area may be used to finance networks aiming to undermine States, and to support international terrorism. A convergence of piracy and resource theft with political grievance at a national or regional level will make it more difficult for Governments regained full control over their territories. SHIP ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED OIL THEFT
6.0REQUIREMENTS FOR ENHANCED SECURITY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA AS A SHIPPING ROUTE 6.1STATES AND REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS Security is the product of several factors. To secure the shipping routes of the Gulf of Guinea, the immediate focus for will be for national actions, regional cooperation and international partnerships to contain suppress, and to ultimately eradicate piracy, sea robbery and oil theft. This calls for political will and good faith. Resource will be needed for capacity building and other measures to develop effective national and regional maritime governance. Security in the Gulf of Guinea will ultimately be achieved through maritime domain awareness and control; the implementation and enforcement of international maritime conventions; and other established rules and regulations for shipping, ports management and practices.
Fortunately, Gulf of Guinea: States and regional organizations, particularly Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) and the Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA) already working together. It may be possible to do more and to move faster because the threats are not going to wait and the disease is spreading without regard to sub regional groupings or national identities. I hope this Conference will advance the agenda of previous progress, and further encourage international organizations and partners to help the region to develop comprehensive and integrated, measures to: Prevent, Deter and Disrupt Attacks Sea; and to Prosecute and Punish pirates and their syndicates.
6.2 NAVAL FORCES: Naval forces are the most effective agencies for deterrence and disruption of attacks. They can be national, regional or multilateral; with capacities for full surveillance and regular patrols, identification and tracking mechanism to quickly determine ships that stop moving in high-risk areas. And, they need the rapid response capacity for intervention, to project the necessary force for control and dominance of the sea environment. Practical models such cooperation and capacity building includes the examples of Operation Prosperity. It is an on-going bilateral initiative of Nigeria and Benin launched in October 2011, under the MOWCA Coast Guards Framework Initiative to suppress piracy. It should expand to include other countries or encourage then to jointly venture. Exercise Obangame Express, a regional and multilateral naval exercise of Africa, US and Europe, involving 12 nations to improve the response capabilities of the Navies in the GG.
The United States AFRICOM is an international partnership initiative in capacity building and information sharing through various training modules as well as other maritime security programmes: Africa Partnership Station Missions, Maritime Exercises, Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Programme, Port Security Partnerships and Maritime Domain Awareness.
6.3LEGAL REGIME FOR PROSECUTION AND PUNISHMENT OF PIRACY The lack of universal agreement on what constitutes piracy, and how to try and punish perpetrators often result in many cases of “catch and release”. 1,200 suspected pirates are being prosecuted or awaiting prosecution in 21 countries worldwide. Fighting piracy must be based on the rule of law and ending of impunity. GG States may need to review their relevant legislation, work regionally and through all relevant international organs to tackle related challenges. For those pirates that steal oil, there should be an international regime to follow "the money trail" and hit the crime leaders, not only their foot soldiers. The international tools being developed and lessons learned from other jurisdictions that had faced similar challenges of piracy, can be helpful. In some countries, amendments to the Penal Code and the Merchant Shipping Act gave national courts the jurisdiction over offences committed on the high seas. These could be studied for adaption by Gulf of Guinea States, especially jurisdictions where piracy had been given a broader definition, and courts can now prosecute suspected pirates captured within and outside their country's territorial waters.
GG States may consider and support the idea of a specialized national, regional or international judicial structure that will be solely devoted to investigate and prosecute piracy cases. A form of this specialized structure was recent proposed by Qatar for the Gulf States. Whatever the case, GG States will benefit from frameworks of best practice, intelligence and information sharing between flag states, ports states and coastal states as well as with regional bodies and international partners. specialized national, regional or international judicial
6.4INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND PARTNERS The United Nations is showing effective leadership, concern and understanding. That leadership is indispensible especially for the assistance that GG States and Regional Organization will need to build capacities. The United Nations is best placed to initiate efforts for global jurisdiction over piracy; and to formally reaffirm it as a crime against humanity. It should be possible to have an international regime that assures that the perpetrators, financiers and facilitators of piracy and of resource/oil theft, whenever identified, can face trial at an International Tribunal. International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other relevant international organizations, are committed to formulate guidance on use of privately contracted armed security personnel onboard vessels of prevent maritime hijackings; and recommend provisions to protect seafarer victims of piracy and to assist them after their release. Additional assistance can be rendered by IMO through a Regional needs assessment for effective implementation of ISPS Code, SAU and other relevant Conventions. Thereafter, a dedicated programme of accelerated capacity building can commence for the national safety administration, Abuja Port State Control MoU, MOWCA and others.
7.0THE WAY FORWARD The menace of piracy and oil theft are the most serious impediments to safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea as a shipping route. States and regional organizations are now giving the necessary attention and leadership to reverse the recent ugly trends. The support of the international community and development partners are vital for a multidimensional approach. That support is yielding good results in Somalia and it can be replicated in the Gulf Of Guinea in an appropriate form. Piracy could not be tackled by military means alone though, or by only strengthening the legal regimes. Nevertheless, these are essential and indeed urgently needed. A holistic approach will include national governments to remain focused on:
Tackling the social issues that breed insecurity, especially the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Concerted efforts to reduce poverty; as well as corruption. Stopping the environmental degradation of coastal communities Promoting the overall development and human security of entire communities. Positive and transformative actions will deprive the criminal and deviant elements that engage in piracy of all sympathy from the populace. Without that sympathy or nonchalance from the populace, there will be no place to pirates to hide on land or at sea. Then we can truly secure the Gulf of Guinea for safe and secure shipping; and clean oceans.
8.0CONCLUSION: The Gulf of Guinea region is at the thresholds of great opportunity. Member States face peculiar and collective challenges. Security is one of them. It is usually an in-country challenge or there is a transnational spill over. For many countries in the region, the security challenge that is spreading down from the Sahel is ominous. Economic sabotage by piracy from the sea is destabilizing. With goodwill and sacrifice from the States and Regional Organizations in the Gulf of Guinea; the assistance and support of the international community and development partners, the emergent challenges can be quarantined and overcome.
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