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Piracy: Ghana affected by Nigerian pirates.

HAISOON

HAISOON

Two recent pirate attacks have raised international concerns that Ghana is turning into a hot spot for piracy and armed robbery at sea.

Released in August, last July oil tanker Hai Soon 6 was reported missing off Ghana’s coast. This followed after an attack on the oil tanker Fair Artemis, which had taken place on 4 June 2014.  Owners of the MT Hai Soon 6 confirmed in August that vessel had been released after the pirates stole part of the ship’s cargo around 60 nautical miles east of Lagos, Nigeria. All 21 crew were reported to be safe.

However, given that this area in Ghana is not known to be a piracy hot spot, these attacks should sound an alert to West African authorities to take quick action and prioritise cooperation in maritime security.

This latest incident demonstrates that no West African country can claim to be immune from piracy, despite assurances to the contrary from Ghanaian leaders. This also highlights, more broadly, that there is a prevailing lack of cooperation among the operational personnel who are responsible for maritime security in West Africa; something which pirates are exploiting.

The Ghanaian authorities have expressed confidence in the security of their coasts, and say that this is being achieved through a number of developments. These include the acquisition of patrol boats operated by the navy and maritime police; setting up of a vessel traffic management system; and security cooperation with neighbouring countries. Following the Fair Artemis hijacking, Paul Asare Ansah, Head of Public Relations for the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, stated that ‘Ghana regularly maintains the security of its anchorage, having obtained boats that constantly maintain vigilance over its waters together with the Navy and maritime police.’