In celebration of its 68th anniversary, the Nigerian Navy hosted an International Maritime Conference at the Admiralty Conference Centre, Naval Dockyard Limited, Victoria Island, Lagos, from May 30-31, 2024. Themed ‘Promoting the Blue Economy in Africa through International Cooperation on Maritime Security’, the conference aimed to strengthen maritime security across Africa, crucial for unlocking the continent’s blue economy potential in line with the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS).

The event saw the participation of about 400 delegates from 15 countries, including African heads of navies and coastguards, maritime security experts, academics, private sector representatives, and international partners. Representatives from organizations such as the European Union (EU), International Maritime Organization (IMO), Interpol, the African Union (AU), and regional bodies like ECOWAS and ECCAS also attended.

Keynote presentations included Dr. Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood’s paper on the socio-economic impacts of maritime security, and Dr. Paul Adilikwu’s lecture on strategies for enhancing Africa’s blue economy through maritime security collaboration. Discussions focused on maritime governance, regional cooperation, information sharing, and funding for infrastructure development.

The conference concluded with several resolutions aimed at improving maritime governance and security in Africa. These include:

1. Sensitizing governments on the need for comprehensive frameworks for blue economy governance.
2. Encouraging public-private partnerships to enhance maritime security.
3. Developing human resource capacities in maritime-related fields.
4. Establishing funding mechanisms such as a Maritime Security Trust Fund.
5. Fostering joint production of naval hardware to enhance operational interoperability.
6. Improving the welfare of coastal communities to mitigate maritime insecurity.

Additionally, heads of navies and coastguards committed to operationalizing the Combined Maritime Task Force (CMTF) in the Gulf of Guinea, setting up regional maritime information fusion centers, and combating illegal fishing and other maritime crimes.

Rear Admiral JD Akpan announced that the Nigerian Navy would organize another International Maritime Conference and Fleet Review during its 70th anniversary.

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