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U.S. State Department's OSAC Reviews Gulf of Guinea Threats

By MarEx 2013-08-20 11:53:00

By the Gulf of Guinea Working Group

The Gulf of Guinea Working Group (GoG) is a public-private partnership between the Department of State and U.S. private-sector organizations operating in the Gulf of Guinea, which provides members an open forum to share vital security information, track maritime threats, and define best practices to enhance the security apparatus for member interests in the Gulf of Guinea.

As a subgroup of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), which was created in 1985 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to promote security cooperation between American private-sector interests and the U.S. Department of State, the GoG was created in October 2012 when members of OSAC from various industries including oil and gas, private security, and shipping, discussed collaborating to address maritime security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea.

In its early development, the GoG held monthly phone calls to address maritime incidents that affected member companies and discussed lessons learned. Due to the tremendous collaboration among members and State Department support, the GoG has reached new heights. Today the GoG provides members with new platforms for information sharing and innovative mapping capabilities, including an online Piracy Tracker.

Since early 2013 the group has used the Piracy Tracker to track and trace more than 75 maritime incidents. Members log on to a service site, identify the location of an incident on a user-friendly map, and then provide basic details about the incident, including detailed summaries of each event. The map tracks all maritime incidents, including attempted and unauthorized boarding of vessels, attacks, hijackings, robberies, and kidnappings. This real-time response enables members to bolster security as needed in the event of a maritime attack.

Additionally, GoG products highlight the security challenges private-sector companies face in the Gulf of Guinea. The products, which are shared among members, present a compelling picture of real-time security challenges in the field and the cost of private-sector investment in the region. The exchange enables GoG members to raise awareness of maritime security challenges and share information with other private sector interests.

If you would like to learn more about OSAC programs, please contact OSAC’s Program Officer Sarah Kessler at Kesslerse2@state.gov or visit www.OSAC.gov.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the
U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Government