Maritime 2022 Review (3) – Security ramps up in GoG
In January 2022, the EU committed to a two-year extension of its deployment of warships to the Gulf of Guinea region, known as the Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) program. It was proposed that Denmark will patrol West Africa’s waters for four months, Spain for seven and a half months, France for eleven months, Italy for eight months and Portugal for three and a half months.
Although the Danish naval presence in the region ended in February 2022 (partly due to the invasion of Ukraine and the requirement for NATO vessels to return to the region, in mid-September, the Consul General of France in Lagos, Laurence Monmayrant, representing the French Ambassador at the 7th Lagos International Maritime Week, announced the decision to extend the CMP program and said it is a result of the successes recorded by the initiative in reducing pirate attacks against commercial vessels in the Gulf of Guinea by more than 80 per cent.
Earlier in the year, in July, the EU stepped up support to the development of the Liberian Coast Guard through the Support for West African Integrated Maritime Security (SWAIMS) program. Focal areas for improvement include the supply of rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBS) and relevant training of its personnel, patrolling and evidence collection at sea will also be strengthened.
In early January 2022, the Ghanaian Navy received four Flex Fighter vessels from Penguin Shipyard in Singapore (GNS Volta, Densu, Pra and Ankobra), which were acquired specifically to patrol oil and gas fields in the country’s EEZ.
This development ensured that only Ghanaian Navy vessels and boats will protect offshore oil and gas infrastructure in the country, displacing private security vessels, which had previously proliferated with the growth of piracy in the region.