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Strengthening Maritime Security in West and Central Africa


The 28th session of Assembly held at IMO Headquarters from 25 November to 4 December 2013 unanimously adopted a Resolution supporting the Organization's work to prevent and suppress piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in the Gulf of Guinea.
 

Download a copy of our flyer describing IMO's activities in West and Central Africa (English, French, Spanish).

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Regional seminars in cooperation with other UN Agencies and development partners

Pursuant to the implementation of the Code of Conduct and IMO/MOWCA MoU (and subject to availability of funds), IMO undertakes regional and sub-regional training activities for participants from neighbouring countries and regions with a view to exchanging best practices, building confidence and nurturing cross-border cooperation on prevailing challenges.
 
IMO's regional seminars thus complement the maritime security assistance programme conducted by the Organization, including the integrated coast guard function network project and the series of national table top exercises. The seminars are also an example of the spirit of cooperation outlined in the Code of Conduct concerning the prevention of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in west and central Africa, which aims to build capacity in west and central Africa to counter piracy, armed robbery and other illicit acts at sea . 
 
Regional seminar on Maritime and Port Security in Cotonou, Benin
 
In July 2013, more than 60 participants from the 20 coastal Member States of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) joined international experts for a seminar on maritime and port security, held in Cotonou, Benin, organized by IMO in conjunction with PMAWCA.
 
Experts from France, the United States Coast Guard, the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the international police organization, Interpol, shared their knowledge and respective areas of expertise on a range of issues, including the practical implementation of security measure in ports, the facilitation of maritime traffic, the suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships, dealing with illicit maritime trafficking and countering transnational organised crime. 
 

   Delegates from Sao Tomé and Principe and Liberia with an expert from the US Coast Guard during a workshop session in Benin
 
 
Regional seminar on Stowaways in West and Central Africa, Côte d'Ivoire 
 
Another regional seminar was held in March 2014 with a particular focus on stowaways in West and Central Africa: analysis of the current situation and measures to reduce their number. The seminar was hosted by the Ministry of Transport of Côte d’Ivoire at the Port of Abidjan.
 
 
   Roundtable discussions on the solution of stowaway cases during a seminar session in Côte d'Ivoire
 
More than 50 participants, 31 of whom were funded by IMO’s Technical Cooperation programme attended the seminar, including security and immigration officials from the 12 most frequent ports of embarkation of stowaways (major ports of Benin, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo), as identified by the International Group of P&I Clubs.
 
The seminar included table-top exercises to facilitate discussions and to identify best practices for avoiding stowaway incidents. The seminar also addressed aspects of security, facilitation of trade and repatriation of stowaways. Participants agreed that the fact that stowaways are able to have access to port facilities and go on board ships in ports means that any other person with criminal intentions could have access to the port and ships as well. The security regimes of such ports could be improved. 
 
 
   Panel discussion on the prevention of stowaway cases at the regional seminar in Côte d'Ivoire 
 
The International Group of P&I Clubs puts the annual cost of all stowaway cases worldwide at approximately US$15.3 million (measured from February 2011 to February 2012).
 
IMO again partnered with PMAWCA to prepare this seminar. Representatives from UNODC, UNHCR, Interpol, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the World Customs Organization (WCO) also participated in the seminar, as well as those from the United States Coast Guard, the International Group of P&I Clubs, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and BIMCO.
 
Expanding on such an Africa-to-Africa approach, it is intended to partner with UNODC during 2014 to hold a seminar on the lessons learned in developing frameworks for the prosecution of pirates and other offenders whereby national judges, lawyers and law enforcement officers from signatory States to IMO’s successful Djibouti Code of Conduct will share their countries’ experiences with their counterparts from West and Central Africa.