French Govt Supports Anti-Maritime Crime Fight

The French government, in collaboration with the United States of America government, has set up a project dubbed: ‘Gulf of Guinea Maritime Security Sector Reform Support (ASECMAR)’ to help fight maritime crimes in West Africa.

The project is expected to train maritime administrators on the laws of the sea and to share information on maritime crime in the sub-region.

The ASECMAR project is funded by the French government and anchored by the Directorate of Security and Defence under the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The project since its establishment in 2013 has trained 612 persons from 11 countries.

The beneficiary countries of the project are personnel from Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Congo Brazaville, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria.

The rest are from Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Togo.

Speaking at a training workshop in Accra to share information on the laws governing the sea and how to combat maritime crime, the French Ambassador to Ghana, Frédéric Clavier, said maritime issues in the world were of major concern to all countries and the perpetrators of maritime crime must be punished.

The ambassador said, ‘The law of the sea, essentially international, must be replicated in national legislations and adapted by case law and customary law.’

He added that ‘it is not enough when maritime offences are domesticated in the national law, it is further important that these breaches are met with suitable highly deterrent sanctions.’

Mr Clavier said the ASECMAR project would draw specific mechanisms that would mobilise coastal states of West Africa to deal with those issues.

He said the project seeks to help the participating countries to learn and share concrete examples, especially the examples of Somalia in the fight against piracy.

Gene A. Cretz, United States Ambassador to Ghana, urged leaders in the West African sub-region to allocate resources to fight maritime crime.

In a speech read on his behalf, he said, ‘It is about time these African leaders show strong commitment towards the fight against human trafficking, drug and money laundering in the sub-region.’

The ambassador disclosed that maritime crime is a global crime that must be tackled head on to make the sub-region a peaceful place to live in.

He called on members to immediately allocate funds towards the fight against maritime crime.

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