Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin says criminal activities at sea go beyond piracy hence the need for extensive monitoring of the maritime space for maximum security.
He said Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, smuggling and illegal oil bunkering were also forms of criminal activities at sea which might attract less attention.
He said this at a workshop organized by the Analyzing Maritime Security in Ghana (AMARIS) project on the theme, “Tackling Maritime Insecurity, Developing the Blue Economy: The next steps for Ghana”.
Mr Bagbin said there was the need to probe how these criminal activities at sea were performed onshore and the circumstances that made them thrive in order to understand the connections between onshore and offshore crimes.
The Speaker said Parliament ought to give formal consent to maritime-related treaties saying, “Parliament exercises its oversight responsibility not only in the approval of the budget that would among others support maritime security and government operation. But also exercises oversight over maritime governance institutions to effectively deliver maritime administrations in the country.” he added.
He noted that the security dimension of the maritime sector was not the only issue that the sector was faced with but also dwindling fish stocks.
“There are myriad of issues affecting the sector such as dwindling fish stocks and climate change. There are constituencies in Parliament whose people are dependent on the sea for their livelihood and wellbeing such that dwindling fish stocks pose serious challenges to the survival of the constituents of the coastal communities,” he said.
Mr Bagbin added that it had therefore become a necessity for the Executive to liaise with Parliament to address the evolving issues that had consequences on livelihoods, employment, food, peace and security.
“We need to build the capacity of Members of Parliament’s select committees of (1) Defense and Interior, (2) Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, (3) Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs and (4) Roads and Transport, to efficiently perform.”
He commended the Kingdom of Denmark through DANIDA for initiating the AMARIS project with the aim of assisting Ghana’s maritime security governance through research and research capacity building.
He also applauded the Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa (CEMLAWS Africa), the Centre for the Resolution of International Conflict (CRIC) of the Department of Political Science of Copenhagen, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre and Department of Political Science of the University of Ghana for taking up the project.