Côte d’Ivoire, like other countries, has taken measures to combat maritime pollution through the establishment of an Inter-Departmental Committee which deals with accidental oil spillages with technical support from the Ministry of Health, Environment and Sustainable Development through Ivorian Anti-Pollution Centre (CIAPOL).
Among the duties of CIAPOL is the implementation of the revised plan POLLUMAR, which is the national contingency plan to combat marine pollution by the CIPOMAR division.
Aside the creation of a national contact point for oil spills, the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, in accordance with the Yaoundé Summit Resolutions, has included in its National Strategy for State Action at Sea the creation of an interregional institute dedicated to training and capacity-building in maritime safety and security.
In spite of the policy interventions, there are still challenges in the sector among the states in the Gulf of Guinea.
It is on this background that the Director of Académie régionale des Sciences et Techniques de la Mer (ARSTM), Karim Coulibaly called for an effective response strategies to deal with oil spills offshore exploration and production.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a workshop in Abidjan on maritime environment and offshore oil production, Mr. Coulibaly indicated that oil spills at sea are unpredictable events that can cause significant damages to the environment, wildlife and coastal communities.
He added that oil transportation is the cause of several major spills, including accidents of the Prestige  and the Exxon Valdez ), but more recently, a growing number of major incidents originating from offshore exploration and production.
The Gulf of Guinea, Coulibaly noted, is one of the strategic maritime routes for global trade and various offshore hydrocarbon production activities is likewise highly exposed to risks of marine pollution.
The Director of Environment and Sustainable Development, Dr. About Gustave noted that in recent years, it has become clear that our marine environment faces many challenges due to human activities.
He indicated that these human activities, both on land and at sea, pose a serious threat to our marine environments.
Dr. Gustave said whether accidental environmental disasters or deliberate discharges, pollution in all its forms has remained the main cause of degradation of the marine environment for several decades notably the recent incidence such as the accidental oil spill off Jacqueville and Grand Bassam.
According to him, the seminar aims to provide participants with tools and rudiments to combat accidental pollution of marine and inland waters by hydrocarbons.
The Chief Administrator of Maritime Affairs, Olivier MORNET emphasized that since marine pollution has no border, there is therefore, the need for regional cooperation and collaboration between public authorities and private sector.
He intimated that the Interregional Institute of Maritime Safety was established according to the will of both Côte d’Ivoire and France with the purpose of providing public administrations of countries of the Gulf of Guinea.
The training brought together 30 participants from Ghana, Senegal, Togo, Benin, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gabon, Congo, Guinea Bissau, DRC, Sao Tome and Principe and Côte d’Ivoire to share country experience that will help develop a response strategies that are more proactive.
By Abubakari Seidu Ajarfor