By Umaru S. Jah, Information Attaché – Germany
Sierra Leone has participated at the G7 ++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea in Rome, Italy on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 June 2017 respectively.
Among the 120 participants from over 40 counties were Sierra Leone’s Executive Director for Maritime Administration, Alhaji Wuroh Jalloh, Minister Counsellor/Head of Chancery at the Sierra Leone Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany, also accredited to Italy, Mr. David Maada Gbenjen and Information Attaché, Mr. Umaru S. Jah.
The event, which was hosted by the Italian G7 presidency, discussed issues relating to developments and concerns on piracy, armed robbery and other illegal maritime activities in the Gulf of Guinea.
Given the frequent attacks of ships by pirates and other maritime crimes such as drugs and human trafficking, the event according to the Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maria Giro, marked an important milestone in ensuring a long-term solution to the ongoing security threats at sea.
Member states believed that such approach to addressing maritime security will not only tackle the existing threats and challenges, but also create job opportunities, trade and investment attraction to both coastal and landlocked countries.
Most participants including Italy reaffirmed their commitments for effective collaboration and partnership, with emphasis on reforming the judicial systems of respective countries.
Sierra Leone, like other countries present at the event, was able to learn from the many experiences sheared among member states.
The Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration who doubles as the focal person for the G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea, Alhaji Wurroh Jalloh, described the occasion as unique and informative. He informed that maritime domain awareness is a key to ensuring effective surveillance and security across the coastal region
Mr. Jalloh disclosed that his team had succeeded in conducting series of studies within the jurisdiction of Sierra Leone and some parts of the continental shelf to further improve on threat responses.
The above exercise coupled with joint efforts of the Sierra Leone maritime committee he went on, has led to the provision of software identification of illegal vessels despite the challenges faced in carrying such operations.
He further disclosed that his administration, through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, will table the Sierra Leone maritime security bill to cabinet any time soon. The bill, after its approval, will ensure full enforcement of maritime security and other related legislation and regulations.