Fighting piracy in Africa, to the West and to the East
Photo Credit To Louis Vincent àprésent-Lomé

Fighting piracy in Africa, to the West and to the East

The Port Autonome de Lomé (Lomé Automonous Port) is the only deepwater port of the region.

Since the early 21st century, piracy has surged off the coasts of Africa and become a threat to world security and trade. As a result, a number of international actors are attempting to curb piracy. As a country heavily dependent on international trade transiting in the area, Djibouti established the Djibouti Coast Guard to join in international antipiracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. To the west, Togo is leading the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea by hosting the first Summit of Heads of State and Governement on Maritime Security in Africa.


To the West, Togo

TEXT: Embassy of the Republic of Togo in Japan

Togo is now organizing the first Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government on Maritime Security and Development for Africa in November 2015.

Over the years, Togo has gradually assumed a leading role in West Africa’s maritime security. Togo is now organizing the first Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government on Maritime Security and Development for Africa in November 2015. With issues impacting regions beyond the continent, it is expected that Africa’s international partner countries such as Japan—given its long experience in Eastern Africa and in particular Djibouti—will share and discuss their know-how concerning the topic of maritime security.

The fact that 90 percent of world trade, 65 percent of global energy supplies and 90 percent of Africa’s imports and exports are conveyed by sea is one of many reasons why maritime security is such a pressing issue. The aim of the Lomé Conference is to make maritime space the key driver of Africa’s economic and social development. This special session will put into place an African strategy for the protection of its seas and oceans to provide peace, security and stability.

Port of Lomé, Togo.
Port of Lomé, Togo.

Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, the President of the Republic of Togo, summarizes the ambitions and hopes of Togo in the context of this conference as follows:

In terms of development, the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIM Strategy) will be at the heart of the Lomé conference.

“By hosting this conference of great ambition, Togo wishes to convey its interest and commitment to the cause of our continent.” During this conference, a variety of issues will be discussed, including those related to maritime insecurity marked by acts of assault, piracy, armed robbery, illicit trafficking at sea and illegal fishing, preservation of marine life, issues related to the sea as a factor for development and regional as well as international cooperation to ensure maritime security. In addition, the conference will consider appropriate means to curb criminal acts that are a serious breach to peace, security and navigation of the African seas, especially in the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. In terms of development, the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIM Strategy) will be at the heart of the Lomé conference. We will seek a more sustained implementation plan and develop a road map to create greater wealth through the promotion of a thriving, sustainable, secure and environmentally friendly blue economy.

Thus it is important for Africa, supported by the international community, to pave its own path and equip itself with the necessary means to curb criminal acts at sea. It is also vital to invest in the realization of the 2063 vision of the African Union for Africa, which offers palpable social and economic progress for the continent.”

To the East, Djibouti

TEXT: Col. Wais Omar Bogoreh, Djibouti Coast Guard Commander

The President of the Republic took the initiative to create the Djiboutian Coast Guard due to the regional security situation.

The Republic of Djibouti needs to establish an adequate marine police force to respond to the threats presented by neighboring nations with unstable internal situations, and the proliferation of acts of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean may ensure the safety and security of the maritime domain.

The most important economic force in the nation and its main source of wealth consists primarily on the activities of port complexes.

Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force ships in Djibouti.
Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force ships in Djibouti.

Therefore, it was essential to implement all necessary measures to ensure the integrity of these port facilities against all threats that could affect their performance and thus endanger the national economy.

Djibouti occupies a strategic location near some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes where ships traversing the Suez Canal connect Europe, Asia and Africa. The Djibouti Coast Guard organizes maritime surveillance patrols around the Seven Brothers Islands near the Bab-el-Mandeb through which the shipping lanes run.

These daily patrols aim to ensure the integrity of the domain and the Djiboutian maritime approaches.

Ports are also vital to Djibouti’s economy, thus the Djibouti Coast Guard has the responsibility of securing the ports’ façades. There are currently plans to increase the Djibouti Coast Guard’s personnel in order to create control posts within the new and future ports.

Weekly meetings are held at the Djibouti Coast Guard headquarters between JMSDF and DCG in order to strengthen mutual cooperation.

Personnel and ships from JMSDF are currently based in Djibouti. Additionally, eight officers from the Japan Coast Guard serving six-month shifts are stationed onboard Maritime. Relations with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force are excellent: we have done several pirate transfer exercises, and even conducted a real pirate transfer case.

Weekly meetings are held at the Djibouti Coast Guard headquarters between JMSDF and DCG in order to strengthen mutual cooperation.


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