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1st Female commands naval vessel

BY: Della Russel Ocloo
Lt Cdr Priscilla Dzokoto directing affairs on GNS ANKOBRA
Lt Cdr Priscilla Dzokoto directing affairs on GNS ANKOBRA

The Ghana Navy and its Nigerian counterpart yesterday started a joint maritime exercise as part of activities to establish a combined Maritime Task Force among the navies of the Gulf of Guinea, the Eastern and Southern African coastline nations.

The Ghana Navy deployed a vessel for the operation under the command of Lt Commander Priscilla Ami Dogbeda Dzokoto, the country’s first female naval ship Commanding Officer.

Ghana Navy Ship (GNS) ANKOBRA, a river class ship, joined its Nigerian counterpart for the maritime exercise, which will end on Wednesday, June 1, this year,

a statement released by the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) yesterday said.

Exercise

The exercise, on the theme, “Optimising International Collaboration as a Catalyst for Maritime Security and Socio-Economic Development of the Gulf of Guinea, seeks to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea maritime domain and boost synergy with navies within the regional bloc and allied countries.

It is also expected to positively impact the coastal states within the Gulf of Guinea’s resolve to combat maritime crimes through training, while exposing counterpart bodies to the benefits of inter-agency cooperation, the Daily Graphic gathered.

“Ghana’s participation in the programme is expected to further consolidate and deepen multilateral partnership between the navies for an enhanced maritime security in the region,” a source at the GAF added.

Commander

Commander Dzokoto, 36, was appointed on April 11, this year, as the Commanding Officer of Ghana Navy Ship BLIKA, thus becomes the first female officer to lead such a mission.

“Her appointment makes her the first female Commanding Officer of a Ghana Navy Ship, a feat she achieved by dint of hard work, perseverance and God's grace,” the statement signed by the Director of Public Relations, Naval Capt. Michael Addo Larbi, said.

Context

Commander Dzokoto, the statement said, previously served as the Assistant Navigation Officer on board GNS YAA ASANTEWAA, when the ship sailed to Nigeria to participate in exercise Obangame Express in 2014.

Explaining why the GAF considered the female commanding officer a feat, the statement said navies all over the world were predominantly dominated by men.

“It is, therefore, historic that the Ghana Navy has appointed its first female Commanding Officer who has played an instrumental role in planning and executing the passage from Ghana to Nigeria,” it added.

Profile of Lt Cdr Dzokoto

The statement said Lt Cdr Dzokoto who was born on March 8, 1986 in Takoradi in the Western Region had her basic and junior high school education at Pentecost Preparatory in Takoradi, completed Holy Child School, Cape Coast, in 2004, before reading Mathematical Science at the University of Ghana, Legon, graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics and Computer Science.

She was enlisted into the Executive Branch of the Ghana Navy in September 2012, as part of Ghana Military Academy Regular Career Course Intake 52.

She was one of the first two females in the history of the GAF to be enlisted into the Executive Branch of the Ghana Navy, the statement said.

Other training

On commissioning, she had also completed the Junior Staff Course at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College in 2019, where she came out as the second best student.

Lt Cdr Dzokoto also completed the Sub Lieutenants Technical Course in Ghana in 2016.

She had her initial training at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in the United Kingdom in 2013.

Subsequently, she attended the Navigation Direction School in Kochi, India, from July last year to February this year, where she graduated as a Navigation Specialist.

Lt Cdr Dzokoto also holds certificates in Maritime Interoperability Training from the United Kingdom, Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System, Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation, and Maritime Risk Assessment certificates, all in Ghana.

“These courses and training equipped her to hold various appointments as she rose through the ranks,” the statement said.

Peacekeeping

In the area of peacekeeping, Lt Cdr Dzokoto served as a Military Observer with the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) from February 2020 to February 2021.