From Sea Blindness to Wealth Blindness

Blog Post

From Sea Blindness to Wealth Blindness

This post is part of the Natural Security Forum blog, which provides quick analysis from the Natural Security Forum team and outside contributors. For more information, visit the Natural Security Forum's micro-site at www.naturalsecurityforum.org. 

Guest written by Dr. Ian Ralby, Founder and CEO of I.R. Consilium 

To ensure maritime security, states must understand the economic potential of their territorial waters

Until recently, Africa suffered from "sea blindness." States around the continent paid little attention to their maritime space, and did almost nothing to pursue their maritime potential. With the spike in international concern about piracy — first off Somalia and then in the Gulf of Guinea — a shockwave of activity spread across the continent, giving rise to extensive maritime security and law enforcement activity.

While African maritime law enforcement agencies will need considerably more work to thoroughly meet their responsibilities, the acceleration of maritime development over the last several years is unmistakable. The multinational cooperation among the Navies of Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria in successfully interdicting the M/T Maximus, after it was hijacked in February 2016, is perhaps the clearest example of this operational improvement.

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