Commander Dieter Jones, the Operational Commander, South African Navy, on Thursday said that African countries must collaborate to boost maritime security and ensure economic growth.
Jones made the assertion while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
“We need to stand together as a region; it should not be only one sub-region paying for others operation and everyone benefits.
“We need to stand as a region in order to boost economic growth in Africa.
“The entire region benefits from the maritime economy as a whole because ships move from one port to the other via communication,’’ the commander said.
Jones said that South Africa was striving to curb sea piracy to the barest minimum, adding that the menace was not only a threat to the country but the whole continent.
“South African navy in the fight against sea piracy has a keen interest in Mozambique, so, we do a lot of training for their personnel,’’ he said.
Jones added that South Africa would also look at how it could integrate its equipment and use them as part of its operation in Mozambique.
“So, we are not only focusing on capacity building within our own navy but we are also focusing on capacity building in Mozambique.
“Our area of interest does not only remain South African waters, we are focused on the entire African continent before carrying out exercises with the Nigerian Navy for capacity building,’’ he said.
NAN also recalls that the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, during the just-concluded Offshore Patrol Vessel Africa Conference, warned pirates to stay off African waterways or face the law.
He warned the criminals and their collaborators that it would no longer be business as usual for them.
Ibas disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari would soon unfold policies and strategies, aimed at tackling crude oil theft and other maritime vices.
He said that the new maritime policy directive would positively address the issue of private maritime security companies, bearing in mind the cardinal interest of Nigeria.
“This understanding among stakeholders is on the need to achieve our
common objective which is to have a secure and economical viable maritime domain,’’ he said. (NAN)