Operationalizing Maritime Security Coordination in the Gulf of Guinea

Christian Trimua

Author: Christian Trimua, Chief Executive, Interregional Coordination Center

2017 started with cheerful prospects for the coordination of maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. Operationalizing the Interregional Coordination Center (ICC) and the assumption of duties by the team headed by the new Chief Executive of ICC, Mr. Eninam Christian TRIMUA, former Inspector General of Security Services and former Minister of Togo, give a face to the maritime safety and security architecture that was a result of the June 2013 Yaoundé summit, for which the ICC provides the strategic interregional coordination.

The headquarters agreement for the Regional Marine Security Center for West Africa (CRESMAO), between Cote d'Ivoire and ECOWAS, was signed on 29 March 2017 and an interim team was set up, substantiating the activation of CRESMAO in West Africa, similarly as for CRESMAC, its counterpart in Central Africa.

To this progress, the operationalization of Zone F, expected before the end of 2017, and Cape Verde’s approval to host the MCC for Zone G must be added. The participation of Zone A in the OBANGAME 2017 exercise and the ongoing preparation of the second edition of MEGALOPS exercise in Central Africa, the synergy established with the Gulf of Guinea Inter-regional Network (GOGIN) project under European funding, and the fruitful exchanges with many other international partners, including Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), are signs of the gradual empowerment of the Yaoundé architecture.

For its first mandate in 2017-2021, the ICC has developed four (4) priority programs around information exchange, harmonization and cooperation in legal and judicial affairs, education and training, and maritime governance, about which it will mobilize all its partners, in order to create the conditions for joint action.

The Donor Conference, to be held for that purpose during the second half of 2017, with the support of ECCAS, ECOWAS, CGG, and the sponsorship of the State of Cameroon, provides a framework for mobilizing resources, for deepening the abovementioned programs, and for exchanges and follow-up with international partners interested in maritime safety in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Yaoundé architecture and all the regional and international strategies for safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea are reliant on the contribution from all.

It is therefore under the auspices of these cheerful prospects for a new cooperation for safe navigation, safe waters, and a prosperous Blue Economy in the Gulf of Guinea that the ICC will place its opening mandate 2017-2021.