Effective, decisive actions needed against pirates

Monday, March 9, 2009
By: 
Edwin Tshivhidzo

Cape Town - Effective and decisive action is needed in the fight against piracy, oil theft and drug trafficking off Africa's coastline, says Chief of the South African Navy Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu.

The South African Navy is looking at new ways in which it can assist the Navies and Coast Guards of other African countries to stem criminal activities.

Speaking at the 3rd Sea Power for Africa Symposium currently underway in Cape Town, Admiral Mudimu expressed concern that these criminal acts were continuing unabated off the west and east coasts of the continent.

"We continue to notice the rise in statistics that speak of a continent flooded with small arms and weapons that in many cases are smuggled by sea. The situation is further perpetuated by access points being used by drug smuggling syndicates to route drugs to our continent and Europe."

Admiral Mudimu called on delegates attending the symposium to monitor their seas closely. "We need to be aware of what is happening in our waters, who and what is being transported and by which vessels."

He said a collective approach was needed to fight against illegal activities in the sea. There was a need to urgently device plans and convert them into actions to bring about peace and stability for the wellbeing of the people.

Minister of Defence Minister Charles Nqakula, speaking at the symposium, said the governance and administration of Africa's oceanic and maritime affairs must be strengthened.

"The countries of the continent must continue to cooperate with each other on trans-boundary maritime issues to enhance the standard and governance thereof," he said.

Minister Nqakula also said there was a need for navy personnel to trained to deal with the many challenges they are faced with at seas.

The symposium, being held under the theme "Towards Effective Maritime Governance for Africa",

About 50 African states and 18 representatives from navies outside Africa have been invited to attend the symposium to discuss matters of mutual maritime importance in order to create greater understanding, co-operation and friendship within the continent.