West African troops used grappling hooks and deployed silently into rusty ferries to disarm mock kidnappers in an exercise conducted by the U.S. military as part of the Flintlock program.
Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command for Africa (SOCAF) – Admiral Milton Sands, said this program is assisting coastal states in combating maritime threats, like drugs, illegal fishing, human trafficking and piracy.
This region has lately become a global piracy hotspot, but fortunately, incidents have decreased since 2021. 350 soldiers from Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria have conducted the drill.
The Financial Transparency Coalition estimates that IUU fishing is costing West Africa $9.4 billion through unlawful financial flows.
Among the 10 top companies involved in this activity, eight are Chinese-flagged vessels that often ignore regulations despite enforcement efforts.
Commodore Godwin Livinus Bessing from Ghana’s Naval Training Command is focusing on curbing IUU fishing due to a shortage of resources; he believes that if more ships were patrolling the waters, illegal activities could be reduced drastically.
References: Reuters, DNA
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