The International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEC) is taking place on the 23-25 of July 2019 at the Kempinski Gold Coast in Accra, Ghanaof Rear Admiral Seth Amoama the Commandant of the Ghana Armed Forces Command & Staff College, and it will feature a 2-day strategic gathering of global maritime leaders and Africa’s Chiefs of Naval Staff as they commemorate Ghana’s 60 years of Naval excellence.
The event will focus on the increasingly volatile maritime threats of the region and the collective strategies and resources necessary to combat them. One of the esteemed speakers participating in IMDEC is Captain Pedro Querido Santana, Commander of Cape Verd’s Coast Guard, who we had the opportunity to ask him the following question and share with you his answers:
Please tell us about yourself, your current role as the commander of Cape Verde’s Coast Guard, and what are the key mandates of Cape Verde’s Coast Guard?
My name is Pedro Querido Santana, Cape Verde’s Coast Guard Commander since 2016. I am a naval officer, trained at the Naval School of Portugal. My career was mostly in the Cape Verde Coast Guard vessels, I went through all stages, as a ship officer, chief of services, and then commander of several ships.
The Cape Verde archipelago is 4,033 km2 long, with approximately 1,020 km coastline, and a 734.265 km2 Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including an area of about of 645,000 km2 subject to Search and Rescue operations, making Cape Verde a maritime nation. Therefore, the purpose of my mandate is
1- To ensure the fulfilment of the missions of the Cape Verde Coast Guard (GCCV) in an effective and economical way;
2- Consolidate the GCCV as a body of the Maritime Authority and an essential partner for the State of Cape Verde’s action at sea;
3- Strengthen the Coast Guards structural optimization;
4- Continue to build the capabilities of the GCCV according to the possibilities of the country.
What are you looking forward to with International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEC)? What is the value added by IMDEC specifically?
What matters to us in the area of maritime safety is to expand our maritime patrols, make them more affordable economically and in this case acquiring new technologies to help us achieving this goal. These fares are particularly important so that we can learn about the new technologies and the help they can offer us in maritime domain awareness (MDA). The value of IMDEC, is the interesting merger that was carried out between the Ghanaian Navy’s birthday and the fair.
A key focus of the event is to enhance maritime security and stability within the Gulf of Guinea. What are the key initiatives, exercises and/or programs in the region that you believe are best aiding maritime security?
The major initiatives are the exercises and operations combined between different countries of the Gulf of Guinea. In terms of military drill, we have at least two important exercises that are carried out each year, the OBANGAME EXPRESS and the GRAND NEMO. These are important initiatives that allow Gulf countries to work with each other and to work with international partners.
Other important initiatives are the combined operations carried out like the patrols in zone D of the Yaoundé architecture which is working very well with results in practice. Another is the fishing operations carried out by the sub-regional Fisheries Commission which has worked with excellent results.
How do you foresee the regions’ nations working together to curb illegal activities in the Gulf of Guinea? What are the challenges and requirements to improve regional coordination in the maritime domain?
Patrol activities are costly, so countries will need a very large economic effort to sponsor these patrols. Also, transnational crimes know no borders. These two reasons are more than sufficient for countries to work together to improve maritime safety.In order to improve coordination in the field of maritime safety, it is necessary, firstly, for the countries of the Gulf of Guinea to invest heavily in the maritime field. All money put into safety at sea is not a loss is an investment for the future. Investment in naval assets, human resources and marine support infrastructures.The main problems facing the Gulf of Guinea are the poor effectiveness to perform maintenance of the ships and this causes operational problems. We will need and a considerable investment in advanced equipment (technology transfer) and training of personals.
Define the increasing importance of interagency (including navies, coast guards, marine police, customs and ports) collaboration in securing regional seas? How has Cape Verde’s Coast Guard spearheaded these joint operations within your EEZ?
Of the four strategic objectives of the Coast Guard is “To consolidate the Coast Guard as an organ of the Maritime Authority and an essential partner for the action of the State of Cape Verde at sea”. Within this strategic objective, we set out four annual objectives, the first being the Increasing of Interagency Maritime Patrols.For example, the Coast Guard on its patrol in the waters under its jurisdiction carries onboard elements of other law enforcement agencies at seas such as the Maritime Police, Fisheries Inspectors and members of the judicial police. This collaboration and information sharing between agencies is the key to success in maritime safety and security.
What recommendations would you give suppliers hoping to aid maritime stakeholders in Cape Verde and West Africa as a whole?
There is a Chinese proverb that says “do not give them fish, teach them to fish”. Our partners should help our countries build capacities (capacity building) so that we can solve our problems ourselves. The problems of maritime safety in Africa should be solved by our countries and not wait for others to solve our problems, they can help. My recommendation is that our partners support combined and joint patrolling initiatives. Countries should present their joint and combined patrol plans and seek solutions to sponsor these patrols.
In your opinion, which are the key maritime technologies and systems introduced that best increase maritime security?
There are several technologies introduced that have extended maritime safety such as coastal RADARS, drones, Automatic Identification System (AIS), Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) etc.
About Captain Pedro Querido Santana commander of Cape Verde’s Coast Guard:
Captain Santana raduated from the Portuguese Naval Academy, in 1997 with and holds a Degree in Naval Military Sciences, Captain Santana has deep technical knoldge as he completed Navigation Course to Officer of the Bridge, Naval Academy, Portugal, 1996. Followed by another Course: Head of Maritime Missions, Sub Regional Fisheries Commissions, The Gambia, 2000. In addition to Improvement in SAR operations, CITAN, Portugal, 2002, and, Improvement in Fisheries Surveillance – Part I and II, CITAN, Portugal, 2002. Also he joined Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Washington, 2013 and pursued Post Higher Education at Junior Staff College, IESM, Portugal, 2008 Senior Staff College, ESG, Angola, 2014.
1998 Chief of General Services, NP “Vigilante”
2000 Commander, NP “Tainha”
2003 Chief Service of Finance, Coast Guard Command,
2005 Commander of Naval Units, Coast Guard,
2007 Commander, NP “Espadarte” Naval Squadron,
2008 Commander of the Naval Squadron,
2011 Chief Service of Logistics, Command of the 1st Military Region, 2012, XO of the Coast Guard;
2016 Head of Coast Guard.