We defended fishing vessel against pirates – Ghana Navy says

The Ghana Navy says it warded off pirates aboard two speedboats who suspiciously approached a Tuna vessel by the name AFKO 805 operating 105 nautical miles south of AflaoThe Ghana Navy says it warded off pirates aboard two speedboats who suspiciously approached a Tuna vessel by the name AFKO 805 operating 105 nautical miles south of Aflao on Monday, October 11.

The operation occurred around 2 am and is said to have been done without a casualty to the vessel and its crew. The vessel continues to be engaged in its lawful fishing activities, according to the Ghana Armed Forces.

According to a statement signed by the Acting Director of Public Relations, Commander Andy La-Anyane, the Navy has improved its sea patrols to tackle the numerous piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea making our Exclusive Economic Zone one of the safest in the region.

The Gulf of Guinea accounted for nearly half (43%) of all reported piracy incidents in the first three months of 2021, according to the latest figures from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Again, out of the 135 persons kidnapped globally, 130 of them were reportedly abducted in the Gulf of Guinea alone.

In addition, the region accounted for all 40 kidnapped crew incidents, as well as sole crew fatality.

The IMB also reports that despite a drop in the number of reported piracy incidents for the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, violence against crew is on the rise in comparison to previous years.

Since the start of 2021, 40 crew have been kidnapped compared to 22 crew in Q1 2020. A crew member was also killed in Q1 2021.

The farthest recorded kidnapping occurred on 11 March 2021 when pirates kidnapped 15 crew from a Maltese flagged a Chemical Tanker, 212nm south of Cotonou, Benin.

In another incident, a fishing vessel hijacked on 8 February 2021 was used by pirates as a mother vessel to facilitate other attacks.

In July, Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia revealed that the government is determined “to modernise and re-equip the Ghana Navy and other sectors of the Ghana Armed Forces as well as key stakeholders to scale up their level of readiness to face the growing challenge.”

For a start, the government is acquiring Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), Fast Patrol Boats and Crafts.

In addition, they are making funds available for the timely completion of a military Forward Operating Base at Ezinlibo in the Western Region.

There are plans to establish similar bases on our coastal frontiers.

Dr Bawumia said training and welfare of the naval personnel would be prioritised to ensure professionalism to address the situation.

He encouraged various institutions in the oil and gas sector and the entire maritime industry to modernise their operations for efficiency.

“That is not all, the government is set to endorse a comprehensive National Integrated Maritime Strategy that will enhance interagency cooperation and thereby boost the collaboration among Land, Sea and Air Forces and key stakeholders in the country,” he added.

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