Piracy and other maritime threats around Africa are now costing most international users of sea routes millions in increased fuel prices, insurance, security and ransom payments as well as costing Africa its integrity, security and position as a leading player in sea trade. This is according to Tracey-Lee Zurcher, director of the Maritime & Coastal Security Africa conference and expo, which is officially opened by South African Defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Thursday, 27 October at the CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa.
Says Tracey-Lee Zurcher: "80% of Africa's GDP is reliant on safe sea trade to Africa as well as cargo passing through African waters. Not taking a stronger stance towards the increasing threats at sea can have dire economic effects on the African economy, with Africa losing goodwill and competitiveness as major players and service providers in international trade and transportation."
Piracy moving further south
Reported cases of piracy-related crimes in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans have accelerated exponentially in 2011. According to the Maritime & Coastal Security Africa director this is seriously affecting major trade routes, socio-economic development and natural resources and "it calls for stronger action to be taken by strengthening multi-lateral agreements between African and surrounding nations bordering the affected area."
She continues: "in light of current challenges faced by seafaring bodies, governmental authorities and maritime defence forces are rethinking their strategies in 2011 and 2012. With sea-related crimes having reached an all-time high this year and militia attacks around East and West Africa moving further south and becoming too high profile to ignore, maritime security projects are now being expedited to protect sovereignty and ensure security at sea and ports of entry in Africa."
The International Maritime Organisation's ISPS code is now also being implemented by port and ship authorities active in Africa as a matter of priority. Says Tracey-Lee Zurcher: "this code was developed to enhance the security of ships and port facilities against the threats of piracy, terrorism and other maritime dangers and has proven to be very effective for those who understand the complex benefits of being ISPS compliant."
Maritime & Coastal Security Africa is officially supported by the South African Navy and Armscor, and includes VIP speaker representation from 11 countries - all with a vested interest in securing maritime routes and borders. The conference and technology exhibition is focused on creating and reinforcing international naval relations as well as bridging the communication gap between all seafarers in and around African waters.
Confirmed industry leaders include:
• Honourable Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Defence, South Africa
• Captain Philip Holihead, Head of Project Implementation – Djibouti Code of Conduct, International Maritime Organisation, UK
• Omar Suleiman, Managing Director, Nigeria Ports Authority
• Joyce Gakii Marangu, Research and Development Officer, Kenya Maritime Authority
• General Rodney Toka, General Manager: Safety and Security, Transnet Port Terminals, South Africa
• Jonathan Davies, Company Security Officer, Maersk Line, Denmark
• Tsietsi Mokhele, Chief Executive Officer, SAMSA, South Africa
• Gary Walsh, Member, Garship Marine Surveying, South Africa
• Matt Ash, Admiralty Director, Deneys Reitz, South Africa
• Vice Admiral J. Mudimu, Chief of Navy, South African Navy
• Vice Admiral O.S. Ibrahim, Chief of Naval Staff, Nigerian Navy
• Colonel J. Karia, Commandant, Tanzanian Naval Training School
• Admiral Pierre-Francois Forissier, Former Chief of Naval Staff, French Navy
26 October: site visit
27-28 October: conference and exhibition
Location: CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa
For further information and media accreditation:
Marketing manager: Taryn van Zanten
Tel: (+27) 11 612 3727
Fax: (+27) 11 234 1452
Cell: (+27) 82 333 0662