New Information Sharing Centre in WAF to Combat Piracy

[Please note this article was translated automatically by Google from French into English.]

MOWCA adopts an information center to better combat piracy

Maritime Organization of West Africa and Central Africa (MOWCA) launched on Friday at its headquarters in Abidjan, the center’s activities Information and communication (CINFOCOM) for the networking of maritime administrations its Member States and the database to better combat piracy.

Ivorian Minister of Transport, Gaoussou Touré stressed that “at the time of the new information technologies and communication,” the Centre ” is no doubt, an asset for the 25 member countries of MOWCA. ” So, he has requested that the CINFOCOM “is used wisely for the benefit of Member States MOWCA and it is an essential element in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. ” This center allows all members to have access to a server countries and to exchange “information on the situation sea ​​”so that each country is better informed and better equipped in its” strategy against piracy and other armed robbery, terrorism and acts of sabotage, “said the Secretary of MOWCA, Alain Michel Luvambano.

Explaining the operation of the Centre, Mr. Luvambano stated that “when a ship is attacked, the information is posted in the system … information becomes immediately visible in all states connected to the network, even to them organize the required response according to the location of the ship. ”

According to him, “ultimately, the information posted in the system will be accompanied by satellite images including facial recognition.” This option will return fairly expensive to organization, which is why a round table of donors will be held in November to raise the sum of “800 billion FCFA” MOWCA that will “make available to Member States in the form of repayable loans from National Maritime Fund, “added the Secretary-General of the organization.

These safety devices respond to a logical “cut piracy at the root” to “prevent pirates and bandits to organize ground before operating and monetize their booty back there, “stresses Alain Michel Luvambano. Surveys show that security incidents occurred in the Gulf of Guinea that armed robberies committed in the region do not have political motivations and record very few cases ransom.

Such investigations lead to the conclusion that hackers are more interested in cargo and high-value items they can sell in local markets. The ceremony was attended by the Minister Delegate in charge of Congolese Merchant Marine, Martin Parfait-Aime Coussoud Mavoungou, Second Vice-President of MOWCA, representing the President of this organization also Congolese State Minister, Minister of Transport, Civil Aviation and shipping. Founded in 1975, MOWCA includes 25 countries, including 20 coastal such as Côte d’Ivoire, Angola, Cameroon, Congo, DR Congo, Senegal, Mauritania and Togo, and five littoral countries including Burkina Faso, Chad and the Central African Republic. It aims to instill in the maritime transport sector of West Africa and Central Africa, an impetus to develop policies, programs and projects that promote the growth of this sector.

Source: http://news.abidjan.net/

Maritime Security News Note:
A laudable effort, certainly, but one which will likely fail at the first hurdle. Under reporting of maritime crime is rife in West Africa for numerous reasons and information sharing is almost non-existent as far as most analysts are concerned. Indeed, since the Code of Conduct was signed by WAF countries last year, we have actually seen a reduction in the number of incidents officially reported, while the region’s media has picked up the slack.

Understandably, no country in the region wants to stand up and admit to having a problem with maritime crime in its waters, although we all know who the major culprit is, don’t we? The idea that a new information sharing hub will in some way improve the situation would be amusing if we weren’t dealing with armed gangs of men who regularly kill people in the commission of their crimes.

Oil theft, hijacking, kidnap and armed robbery at sea are massive issues which West Africa needs to attack head on. They say that the first step to solving a problem is to admit you have one. At the moment, we seem to have a worldwide network of information sharing centres who aren’t particularly keen on sharing information and some countries in denial over the scale of the problem itself.

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