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Maritime security

The Gulf of Guinea is home to intense maritime activity as it holds a wide variety of economic and marine resources. In recent years, the number of criminal acts at sea, counting everything from piracy, pollution, to illegal traffic, illegal fishing, etc., have increased to the extent that the Gulf of Guinea is now considered to be one of the most dangerous shipping routes in the world. Together, these developments jeopardise the blue economy and national development of the entire region.

As a strong seafaring nation and a responsible actor in the maritime domain, Denmark is committed to promoting the freedom of navigation and maritime safety and security all over the world. Denmark has therefore also since 2015 been highly engaged in providing support to maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. Read more below on Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Danish maritime security programme in the Gulf of Guinea.


Phase 1

From 2015-2018, Denmark supported the EU-led “Gulf of Guinea Inter-regional Network” (GoGIN) with the objective of securing the Gulf of Guinea and promoting the blue economy in West Africa. This included support for the Yaoundé process, initiated by the 22 member states of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (CGG).

The European GoGIN project aimed to:

  • Improve the collection and sharing of information between West African coastal states on maritime activities in the Gulf of Guinea;
  • Support national maritime organisations in West African countries by assisting them in the implementation of maritime strategies;
  • Provide support to the regional maritime centres in West Africa to ensure better coordination and cooperation between neighbouring countries to enhance safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.


Phase 2

Since 2019, Danish support for increased maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea has primarily focused on Ghana and Nigeria, through the following four areas of work:

  • Strengthening national and regional maritime law response to piracy by supporting the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). This engagement is aiming at improving the maritime law response to piracy in Ghana and Nigeria.
  • Through the UNODC, maritime strategies in Ghana and Nigeria are being implemented. This engagement is promoting inter-agency collaboration in Ghana and Nigeria in order to have effective measures in place to counter maritime insecurity and to be able to prosecute pirates. Read more on UNODC's Global Maritime Crime Programme here.
  • The Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana – a regional centre of excellence - is facilitating regional dialogues as well as capacity development of maritime practitioners. Read more on the Danish Maritime Security Project at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) here.
  • The Danish Defence is supporting Maritime Operational planning and response in order to enhance cooperation and collaboration in the Gulf of Guinea coastal states. In addition, the engagement will conduct capacity development to Nigerian and Ghanaian law enforcement agencies to respond to piracy and armed robbery.


Phase 3

In phase three of the maritime security programme (2022-2026), the Government of Denmark is  scaling up its efforts to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea through support for strengthened operational capacity and improved law enforcement institutions at national and regional levels. 

Besides Nigeria and Ghana, the programme also includes Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, and for some activities Cameroon.

The programme addresses the entire maritime criminal justice chain through the following four engagements: 

  • Support to gender sensitive maritime law enforcement and prosecution in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, and Togo. The engagement is implemented by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
  • Support to strengthened maritime policing, investigation, and evidence collection in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Togo. The engagement is implemented by INTERPOL.
  • Support to stronger and more cohesive national and regional approaches to maritime security through research, dialogue and capacity building. The engagement is implemented by Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) and will also include facilitation of regional dialogue on the integration of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) aspects in the maritime security sector. 
  • Anchored at the Danish Defence this engagement will strengthen capacity to conduct maritime security missions through training of navy personal from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Togo, and enhance the cooperation capacity of, and synergies between, West African coastal states.

You can read the full Programme Document on Phase 3 here.

The annexes to the Programme Document can be accessed here:
Annex 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.


Thomas Raahauge Norup

Sector Counsellor, Maritime

[email protected]