The Centre for International Maritime Affairs, Ghana (CIMAG) has cited a report by the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) to be misleading in its classification of piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Executive Director of CIMAG, Albert Derrick Fiatui said the claim by the IMB that Ghana has the highest number of attacks in the region is inaccurate.
“Piracy per the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the attack of vessels on the high Seas. Armed robbery and theft is what happens in the internal waters. What was captured in the report, was what we experienced last year at the Port of Takoradi, which were three theft cases. So if we are following the definition strictly from the and the UNCLOS, the report is misleading,” he asserted.
He said such reportage goes a long way to derail efforts made by authorities to secure Ghana’s territorial waters in addition to making the area unattractive for the maritime business.
“Issues about piracy for about two years now, has been on the decline and as people in the industry we are happy. So when a report is put out and it is not accurate, that means that the work done is being thrown to the dogs and we have to correct that erroneous impression. You know that most of us in the Gulf of Guinea are import-dependent economies, so, when there is that fear about piracy which is not true, then we are putting ourselves into trouble. Therefore, it is only appropriate that we correct what has been put out there,” he added.
CIMAG therefore assured the shipping community that Ghana has not recorded any piracy incident within the period of the report or the past year and urged the shipping community to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities.
“Our waters are safe and our businessmen should feel free, interact with their partners and ship their wares into the Gulf region. Also, we have people finding it hard to become seafarers because of the challenges they face. These reports put fear in them. Our young people who are interested in the maritime industry and want to become seafarers should know that, a lot of work is being done to get rid of piracy and the fear that their lives will be in danger when they go on sea,” Mr. Fiatui lamented.