Namibia occupies a strategic location within the South Atlantic Ocean region and is part of several international trading routes.
Bordered by Angola to the north, Zambia to the northeast, Botswana to the east, South Africa to the south and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Namibia occupies a strategic location within the South Atlantic Ocean region and is part of several international trading routes. As a result, Namibia’s economy is highly dependent on the sea and its ports.
The country’s two main ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz serve as important bases for fishing, offshore diamond mining, the growing oil and gas sector and fruit industries. Enhancing compliance with international norms on port security and safety of navigation across Namibia is crucial to increasing maritime trade and can bring benefits to the whole region by lowering transportation costs and making exports more competitive in distant markets. Over the past year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has delivered regular training sessions to strengthen law enforcement at Namibia’s ports. This training has included sessions delivered by the UNODC Container Control Programme (CCP) on cargo inspection, prevention of wildlife trafficking, and detecting counterfeit vaccines.Last September the Port Control Unit supported by UNODC CCP was officially launched at Namibia’s largest port in Walvis Bay.
Whilst most training activities focus on the major port facility in Walvis Bay, on October 14 th , the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) expanded training further afield, conducting its first ever capacity building activity in Namibia at the port of Lüderitz. This training was carried out as part of the EU-funded Port Security and Safety of Navigation Programme for Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, which is coordinated by Indian Ocean Commission and implemented in partnership with the International Maritime Organization and INTERPOL.
Twenty-five representatives from Namibia Fisheries, Port Authority, Police, Revenue Agency, Navy, Special Forces and Ministry of Transport and Works attended the two-week training covering both practical and theoretical material. The training focused on interagency collaboration and incident management and included a waterside and anchorage area security assessment of the Lüderitz port, as well as a dialogue between the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and local law enforcement officers on how to prevent and respond to crimes occurring in and around the port.
After completing training in Lüderitz, UNODC GMCP relocated to Walvis Bay, where similar topics will be addressed during next coming month of November.