Combating Piracy and Strengthening Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea – Seminars for Security Experts in Togo

West Africa, in the area of the Gulf of Guinea, is a region with high economic potential. However, due to transnational organised crime and terrorism, Western African countries face many challenges. The security of the region and maritime trade is further hampered by increased piracy off the coast in the Gulf of Guinea. The Togolese coast is also affected, and piracy attacks are becoming more commonplace.

The Foundation has been active in Togo since February 2013. The German Federal Foreign Office requested the Foundation to assist the Togolese government with its efforts in addressing piracy issues. Raising the awareness of security experts and the relevant national authorities as to the applicable international laws and the national regulatory framework to combat piracy is imperative as a first step to effectively counter the increased dangers of seafaring. Therefore, the goal of the seminars is to familiarise the participants with both international and national laws of the sea, as well as national anti-piracy legislation from a comparative perspective.

The workshops in Lomé commenced in October 2013 and focus on general aspects of the law of the sea, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, Conventions of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The workshops illustrate international law of the sea dispute resolution and regional approaches in relation to combating piracy and maritime terrorism. Legal case studies on combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden under UN mandate and the attempts to counter maritime terrorism in the Gulf of Guinea (in relation to Nigeria and Ghana) are also adressed in the course of the seminar series.