‘Maritime piracy is not a new phenomenon’

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…GIABA legal officer

October 26, 2018

Legal Officer for the Inter-governmental Action group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), Ms. Gina Wood, has stated that Maritime piracy was not a new phenomenon across Africa.

She made the above observation at a three –day regional conference held at Radisson Blu Mammay Yoko Hotel in Freetown on Wednesday, October 24.

She was speaking on the Legal Framework on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Maritime sector.

According to GIABA’s Legal Officer, maritime piracy has been known since ancient times, when cicero described them as hostel humani generis-, enemies of all people.

“The recent surge in piracy attacks has made the international community to refocus its attention on this problem. The aim of the session is to provide a brief overview of exiting international legal framework that provides the necessary tools to combat maritime piracy,” she noted.

Dr. Buno E. Nduka, Director of Programes and Projects at GIABA Secretariat,  who presented a paper on  International Standards on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorist and Proliferation, said Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing are forms of transnational organised crime that pose a serious threat to peace and security at national, regional and international levels.

He stated that they have responded to the threats of illicit proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by updating their standards to include measures related to the implementation of targeted financial sanctions relating to proliferation.

Law Enforcement Officer, Konan Djaha, said since the last decade, drug traffickers appear to be using containerised shipping to unlawfully introduce drugs and other fraudulent goods into West Africa.

“Maritime piracy and armed robbery on ships are of growing concerns in the Gulf of Guinea because of their significant economic and security implications,” she said.

She added that most of the customs, ports and maritime administration supervisory, and monitoring agencies, financial intelligence units, and bank business operators did not always seem to have the capacity to identify criminal activities and money laundering in the maritime sector.

In his presentation on the Maritime Insecurity in West Africa, representative of  the  Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Francis Omiunu, said the escalation of violent extremism, terrorism and maritime insecurity in West Africa, was indisputable.

Maxwell Arhen, Director of Naval Operations at the Naval headquarters, Burma camp, Ghana, said the fight against crime in the Maritime and Port sector was essential to ensuring safe use of sea and security in ECOWAS maritime space and also to detect threats to shipping safety, and marine pollution.

“The roles and responsibilities of the relevant authorities involved in the maritime and port sector as well as the best practices these authorities should implement in order to strengthen the fight against crime in the maritime port sector, will be highlighted in the session,” he said.