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European Union moves to check piracy on W/African waters

European Union moves to check piracy on W/African waters

Worried by the rising cases of piracy and related crimes on the West and Central African waters, the Council of European Union (EU) has concluded plans to launch the pilot case of the Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) concept in the Gulf of Guinea.

The pilot case of this new EU initiative reflects the EU’S growing role as a maritime security provider and will provide a substantial contribution to addressing the security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea.

The conclusion to set up the CMP was approved by the Council at its meeting held on January 25, 2021.

The Gulf of Guinea has continued to face a challenging environment in which piracy, armed robbery at sea, the kidnapping of seafarers, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, smuggling and trafficking of drugs and arms, as well as transnational organised crime pose a major and increasing threat to maritime security.

This, according to the council, is presently affecting ship navigation, thus endangering major trade routes, jeopardising the sustainable development of the entire region and the economic livelihood of the population, and leading to the deterioration of the environment and biodiversity.

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“In this context, the EU is committed to increasing work with the coastal states of the Gulf of Guinea and the organisations of the Yaoundé Architecture, through greater European Operational engagement, by ensuring continuity, reactiveness, complement and synergy between member states’ actions in this strategic area, also having in mind cooperation with the maritime industry,” the Council noted.

The launching of CMP, according to the Council, is expected to enhance the visibility of EU maritime presence and support the Union’s strategic and political objectives, including conflict prevention, in close cooperation with international and regional partners.

“It is also expected to promote international cooperation at sea, in line with international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in particular, and the exchange of information in the maritime security domain in specific areas; and use the CMP as a pragmatic maritime tool as part of the EU’S Integrated Approach,” the Council further stated.

The Council, however, highlighted the importance of enhancing the voluntary sharing of maritime security information among member states and partners in the CMP pilot case if, and when, deemed appropriate to improve maritime domain awareness.