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The Embassy Focuses on Maritime Security

16.10.2015  15:47

 

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Piracy and Maritime Crime in West Africa is an issue of international concern and attention. Responding to this concern the shipping industry has set up an initiative, the Maritime Trade and Information Sharing Centre for the Gulf of Guinea or, in short, MTISC-GoG.


While the name and acronym may be difficult remember for the uninitiated, the mission for the Centre is differently clear - to improve the safety of the seafarers operating in West Africa. The Centre is supported by a number of countries together with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and INTERPOL.


The Danish Embassy visited the operations centre, near Tema, Ghana, on September 29 and was greeted by the knowledgeable and enthusiastic Captain Tony Fantauzzi, who showed the Centre’s capabilities and track record.


The operations centre offers its service to all merchant vessels free of charge, and operates 24/7. Through information sharing, it aims to warn vessels about security incidents, and as a point of contact through which vessel reports of suspicious activities are shared and relayed to the relevant navy for further action.


What stood out from our visit to the Centre was especially the regional cooperation approach to maritime safety. The centre is staffed predominantly by secondees from navies and industry from the region. During our visit, the operations desk was staffed by a Ghanaian and a Nigerian, working seamlessly side by side to protect the seafarers.


Also, the genuine concern that the Centre showed for the seafarers – the ones for which security concerns are tangible facts – was evident, down to a very personal way of communicating with vessels.


“The Centre’s approach to regional cooperation and thereby building trust between the countries in the region, is commendable and in line with the Danish Anti-Piracy Strategy”, states Peter Eilschouw-Olsen, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Danish Embassy. “Regional and international cooperation between both government and the industry is needed to ensure a well-coordinated and efficient response to maritime crime”.

For further information on MTISC-GoG, see their website.
Further information on the Danish Anti-Piracy Strategy can be found here.

For further enquiries, please contact Maritime Counsellor Nicolas Roy-Bonde, nicroy@um.dk



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