By Barthelemy B.E.E
Today, 13 March, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission will inaugurate the multinational maritime coordination centre (MMCC) for a maritime zone known as Pilot Zone E.
Taking place in Cotonou, Benin, this marks an important step in the implementation of the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy (EIMS). It is solid proof of member states’ commitment to solving the critical issue of maritime piracy, along with other illicit activities at sea. Pilot Zone E is considered the most dangerous maritime zone in West Africa, and stronger protection efforts are needed in this area, which encompasses Benin, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.
Once inaugurated, the centre in Cotonou will coordinate joint activities between the four states. This includes patrols, information sharing, training and drills. In accordance with the guidelines set out in EIMS, the centre is required to report to the Regional Maritime Security Coordination Centre of West Africa.
It will also work with the multinational maritime coordination centres of Zones F and G, thereby completing the maritime security architecture at the sub-regional level. Zone F includes Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, while Zone G is made up of Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Senegal.
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