African continent is comprised of 53 countries, of which 38 have a
coastline while 15 are landlocked countries. Over the past
decade, African countries have done a lot on port management
reforms, but they have overlooked the development of maritime and
It is sad to note that
between 1993 and 2005 there has been a total of 707 piracy
incidents in the region. Out of these, 454 were actual
attacks while 193 were attempted attacks.
Seafarers’ Assistance Program.
In the aftermath of
September 11, 2001, there have been heavy deployments of navy
frigates to police the volatile Gulf and the western
Frigates have been
deployed to counter the smuggling of weaponry, contraband oil,
goods and people around the Gulf and the
Western Indian Ocean
region, as part of the coalition task force 150 and
operation enduring freedom.
During the operations,
the ships’ crew used to board from small dhows to large
container ships to inspect cargo, manifests and registration.
This is because
suspects implicated in bombing the US Embassies in Dar-es-Salaam
are said to originate from
, Lamu and
Apart from maritime
, there is a need for a better understanding to be developed about
the nature of religious dissent and how it impacts on stability
and state security. In addition to that, more attention needs to
be focused on state terrorism and on the often-undermining impact
that counter terrorism measures undertaken by states have on human
Armed pirates seized a
Panamian MV Fiesty gas carrier after responding to a bogus
distress flare from a small merchant vessel.
The ill-fated ship was
hijacked on April 10,2005 off the Somali coast while underway to
the UAE from
The gunmen demanded
US$315,000 ransom before they could release the vessel and her 17
The Hong Kong based
owners of the vessel International Gas carriers appointed an agent
On or about April 18th
2005, the ship owner wired money to a local shipping company
through a bank in
also its representative.
The Hong Kong agent
met the representatives of the gunmen in various locations in
and paid ransom money in the following installments:
April 20, 2005 US $
April 22, 2005 US $ 150,000.00
April 25, 2005 US $ 15,000.00
Eastern European crew
of the oil tanker MT African Pride were held captive for
two years in a notoriously harsh Nigerian jail accused of oil
In 2003, the Nigerian
Navy detained Seafarers from
for allegedly trying to smuggle crude oil from the African country.
It is said that
100,000 barrels of oil are being lost each day to pirates
operating at sea off
We must move swiftly
to deal with the problem of pirates before it reaches a level that
’s ports unattractive destinations.
We face major
challenges such as poaching, piracy, human and drug trafficking,
stowaways, hijackings, IUU fishing and other forms of crime at sea.
The modern day pirates
of the high seas are infact illegal fishermen with operations
estimates at US $ 1.2 billion.
, annual value of IUU and pirate fishing in EEZ is US $ 90 million.
The IMO should also
suggest appropriate remedial measures that governments in those
areas might take.
1993 and 1994 IMO
decision to send missions to the Malacca straits and the
South China Sea
resulted in a marked decline in the number of armed attacks
particularly those involving murder and serious injury.
The lack of central
and the end of cold war is a key contributing factor in the rise
of piracy. Now that powerful nations’ navies police strategic
waterways less stringently, pirates are more easily able to launch
raids on defenceless cargo ships.
In early 1990s, Somali
pirates posed as officers of a law enforcement agency in order to
get on board ships, beginning by issuing verbal warnings and then
scrutinize vessels with automatic weapon, which can escalate the
use of mortars.
Once they’ve stopped
a ship, the pirates either hijack it or steal its cargo. Mostly
they are after money and supplies such as fuel, lube oil, stores
What a disgrace to
note that pirates in West African ports are blatant and strangely
there is complete lack of any response or interest from the
security services or police.
It hurts very much to
say that gangs are in cahoots with stevedores in West African
The problem of illegal
seeking passage to migrate to Europe from
In recent years there
has been an upsurge in the number of immigrants from north and the
horn of Africa trying to enter
In one incident
involving such illegal early (2005) this year, up to (10) ten
people drowned and around 25 were missing after a motor boat
carrying illegal immigrants sank off Tarrifa in southern
In another incident
involving such illegal, a total of 26 people drowned and around 12
were missing after a motorboat carrying illegal immigrants sank
coast mid last year 2004.
Tough action against
ship owners and masters has led in minority of cases to abuse of
stowaways once found and even in extreme cases, incidents where
stowaways have been thrown overboard.
Another problem is
that, there are no internationally agreed regulations on stowaways
and different countries have different rules. It hurts to
note that stowaways are often detained on board for months and
There is a need for
the master, crew and ship owner to treat stowaways in a humane and
fair way. There is also a need to ensure that any agreed
International regulations do not involve ships’ personnel in
acting a “quasi” immigration officer”. Such
responsibilities must remain with the port and the flag state.
There is also a need
to keep accurate records of the time and circumstances under which
the stowaways were discovered. While obtaining the stowaways’
name, address and nationality, the ships master should not
interrogate the person who may have suffered a great deal and be
The stowaway should
not be force to work on board ship unless they want to, in which
case they should be trained and fairly paid for the job.
Given that there is a growing number of economic migrants and
asylum seekers, we suggest that any internationally binding
instruments dealing with stowaways should require the country of
first scheduled port of disembarkation after their discovery to
Currently 175 million
people reside in a country other than where they were born. A half
a million illegal immigrants who enter Europe each year, one
fourth come via
. The main entry point to
, where the rough waters, claim the lives of many would be asylum
Last year (2004),
police intercepted some 14,000 illegal immigrants and 663 illegal
’s long coast and proximity to
makes it attractive to people smugglers. The main entry
points are Barbate, Algericas, Gibraltar and
Another entry point to
Europe from Africa is Lampedusa, a tiny Italian island north of
and south of
. Lampedusa is situated some 125 miles south East of Sicily
and just over 60 miles north of
More than 5,000 people
have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to
since 1996. Two million people have moved towards the North
African Coast in the hope of being able to reach Europe via
Most come to
from West Africa, the horn of Africa and East Africa through
. Total number of undocumented aliens currently residing in
is about 600,000, in
is 1.5 million, 300,000 are in
has 400,000 inside its boarders. There are also 12 million
undocumented aliens currently residing in
This includes both
people from neigbouring southern Africa countries, East Africa,
West Africa, the horn of Africa, Central Africa and more distant
countries such as
and Eastern European countries.
immigrate to other countries before boarding Ocean going vessels
. Sources of stowaways are:
Areas affected by
migrant stowaways are:
. Tanzanians and Kenyans travel to
stowaways often travel away from their homelands before boarding
Ocean going vessels.
are used as paths for Stowaways traveling towards the
and people smuggling is rife in the area.
acts as a magnet to migrants and stowaways trying to illegal enter
About 30 million light
weapons are in circulation in sub-Saharan
. Such weapons are
’s primary tools used in armed conflicts to kill and maim.
They have also contributed to a rise in the incidence and
lethality of criminality, the erosion of social services and a
decline in economic activities across the continent.
million people have been killed by the use of small arms in
Sub-Saharan Africa. It is believed that 79% of small arms
and light weapons are in the hands of civilians 19% in police and
military hands, while 2% are with armed groups and insurgents.
has suffered more that any other region in the world on the
devastation effects of illicit small arms and light weapons.
About 20% of the continents population experienced civil wars
during the 1990s.
The horn of
is flooded with small arms more than any other region on the
illicit small arms is cross-cutting issue, stemming largely from
lack of proper regulations and inability of African governments to
exercise their authority.
Despite the fact that
there are laws to control arms influx, governments are unable to
enforce these laws. Illicit arms have caused untold human
. Many economies have been hit hard by this problem due to
is a major source of Cannabis found in illicit markets in the
region. About 60% of the World’s seizures of Cannabis
resin commonly known as “hashish” come from
cannabis herb or Marijuana constitutes a significant commercial
crop with the sizes of cultivation reportedly increasing in some
areas as prices for agricultural products declines.
traffickers have moved their operations to the West African Coast
to avoid law enforcement in
. Heroin continues to enter West and East Africa from
creating regional trafficking hubs.
all report increase heroin use.
is the entry point for illicit drugs into and through East Africa,
is being used as a hub for international drug trafficking.
The post cold war
period has witnessed an increase in conflicts within a number of
African countries along ethnic, religious or tribal lines.
The continent has been
undergoing a process of political transition from colonial,
totalitarian and authoritarian rule to more democratic political
systems, often accompanied by considerable turmoil.
mainly in the north and the east of the continent, has sometimes
contributed to the instability experienced during these periods of
transition. The liberation struggles that were fought
against colonialism constituted a form of dissent and were
primarily aimed at the colonial power.
Since the end of
colonialism, governments and their citizens have been confronted
by new forms of legitimate as well as illegitimate dissent often
fuelled by a desire for control over political power or
ideological, ethnic and religious movements.
A better understanding
needs to be developed about the nature of religious dissent and
how it impacts on stability and state security.
In addition, more
attention needs to be focused on state terrorism and on the often
undermining impact that counter terrorism measures undertaken by
states have on human rights.
, the threat of transnational terrorism is a reality, but state
terrorism and the implementation of democratic principles present
even greater challenges. Dissent has often led to violence
and to acts associated with terrorism.
When violence erupted
in 1991, the world watched with detached interest.
sent troops to buttress the out-gunned UN peace-keepers dispatched
earlier. But by then, the patient was too sick for treatment and
both the UN and US missions were recalled in a hurry.
After that humiliation,
the world once again turned a blind eye on
. It was only after the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in
East Africa and the November 2005 piracy attack on MV Seabourne
Spirit that the world woke up to the dangers posed by the
is becoming the base for International terrorists. It is
said that European al-Qaeda cells have operation bases in
and that it uses
to expand operation bases into
tops the charts as the biggest threat to Maritime security.
If unchecked, the threat could spread all the way from
is also a threat to world security. Already,
is linked to July 2005 bombing in
where two of the culprits were two Somalis with British passports.
was the planning base for the august 1998 bombing of the
Dar es Salaam
, and the 2002 terror attack on
’s Paradise Hotel.
One can purchase any
weapon from a pistol to a rocket launcher in Bakaraaha arms market,
in broad daylight and at a reasonable price. Forged Somali
passports are also available at as little as US $ 10.
and sale of weapons are the most vibrant concerns in
. Terrorist cells have been taking advantage of the
instability and unmanageable borders of horn of
countries to spread their tentacles.
They are already
. The situation might get worse should the two countries go
to war as they are threatening to do. Terrorist cells are
also likely to take advantage of security loopholes in other horn
It hurts to note that
nobody is talking about the need to facilitate the installation of
a government in
. Installing a government in the stateless
is the first and most important step in dismantling terrorist
cells, sea piracy and IUU fishing in the western
community should come in to contain the terrorist threat posed by
. The international community should also help countries in the
to mount interim measures to counter terrorism.
This should include
the capacity to keep tabs on terrorist activities and to pre-empt