The European Union (EU) and India have joined forces to address the growing maritime threats in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), marking a significant cooperation in naval and diplomatic efforts to enhance stability and security in the region.
Four naval ships from EU member states, including France (FS Ventose Naval Ship), Spain (SPS Bam Tornado), Italy (TS Foscari), and India (Ins Sumedha), have recently docked at the Tema Harbour in Ghana after conducting a joint sea exercise.
This partnership underscores the strong relationship between Ghana and the European Union in the realm of defence and security. The joint call on Ghana's territorial waters is part of the EU's broader strategy in the Gulf of Guinea known as the Coordinated Maritime Presence (CMP), which includes France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, and Portugal.
The GoG faces various maritime challenges, such as piracy, armed robbery, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, and transnational organized crime activities, including drug and arms smuggling. The CMP aims to strengthen the EU's role as a global maritime security provider, promote international law, protect EU interests, ensure freedom of navigation, and deepen maritime cooperation with partners, all within the framework of the EU Maritime Security Strategy.
Mr. Irchad Razaaly, EU Ambassador to Ghana, expressed the importance of the joint call, stating, “The joint call will ensure that there is cooperation between Ghanaian authorities for a permanent military presence at sea to help in the fight against maritime threats, including piracy, illegal fishing, and others.”
He emphasized that this collaboration aimed to enhance maritime security and make the seas safer. Razaaly highlighted the history of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the disruptions it caused to international trade and maritime economic activities. He stressed that a safer sea would lead to a better economy for Ghana.
Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, Chief of the Defence Staff, Ghana Armed Forces, acknowledged the defence cooperation between Ghana, the European Union, and India, highlighting their shared responsibility in addressing maritime security challenges. He credited the collaboration for a significant reduction in maritime security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea, which was previously a global hotspot for piracy.
Vice Admiral Amoama also pointed out the two major security concerns facing Ghana – the threat of terrorism from the Sahel Region and piracy and IUU fishing. He applauded the EU and other partners for their roles in maintaining maritime stability and peace.
Furthermore, he announced Ghana's receipt of 105 militarized vehicles from the EU to bolster the country's efforts in countering terrorism.
Colonel Romi Singh Legha, Defence Advisor, High Commission of India, emphasized the significant maritime interests and concerns shared by both the EU and India. He expressed a commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation in maritime security and exploring further collaborations, including deployments to regions dealing with piracy and illicit activities in the maritime domain.
Mr. Javier Gutierrez, the Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, underlined the EU's commitment to security in the Gulf of Guinea, emphasizing the need for coordinated efforts to combat maritime threats. He also mentioned Spain's reinforcement of cooperation with Ghana and the forthcoming defence cooperation activities between the Spanish Naval Ship (Tornado) and their Ghanaian counterparts.