A ceremony being performed by Navy officers to initiate first-time sailors into the fraternity
A ceremony being performed by Navy officers to initiate first-time sailors into the fraternity
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2 Ghana Navy ships successfully sail across Equator

Two Ghana Navy Ships, Ankobrah and Volta, have successfully sailed across the Equator to touch the Centre of the Earth at Longitude and Latitude 0.

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The two ships, which contained 84 members, comprised navy officers, journalists and officials from the Ministry of Tourism and the Ghana Tourism Authority, who sailed 34 hours, covering a distance of about 611 kilometres in the Gulf of Guinea to complete the trip.

The journey which began around 4p.m. on March 19, 2024, was completed at around 7a.m. on March 21, 2024.

The voyage was mainly to showcase Ghana as the country closest to the Centre of the Earth and also to test and enhance the operational readiness of officers of the Special Boat Squadron (SBS) Unit of the Ghana Navy to conduct maritime interdiction operations to secure the country's maritime space.

Ghana is considered closest to where the Greenwich meridian (longitude zero degrees) meets with latitude zero degrees than any other state on earth.

The intersection of two zero meridians is believed to be the centre of the earth, and Ghana lies about 614 kilometres to the north of this confluence.

Flagging off

Prior to the journey, a flagging off ceremony was held at the Eastern Naval Command in Tema where the voyage began.

Immediately after the ceremony, the two ships cast off together with a US Navy Ship, Hersel Woody Williams, for the ocean navigation exercise.

The participating ships were escorted by Ghana Navy Ship Aflao.

Ankobrah and Volta are  40-metre ships which can take up to 15 crew members and 54 passengers.

They were commissioned in 2022 and have mainly been used for the protection of the country’s territorial waters.

Both ships are captained by Lieutenant Commander J. K Mohammed and Lieutenant Commander S.S Sarbah.

Around 10 a.m last Tuesday, the ships sailed into the Contiguous Zone of the Ghana Territorial Waters which is about  24 nautical miles from Ghana’s shore line.

Crossing the line  

By 7a.m. last Thursday, the three ships had crossed the equator and touched the Centre of the Earth at Longitude and Latitude 0ᵒ.

At that point, a longstanding maritime tradition known as “Crossing the Line” ceremony or “equatorial baptism” was performed for all new sailors onboard the ships to initiate them into the sailors’ fraternity.

One of the crew members dressed as a mythical sea god known as King Neptune and baptised the new sailors, after which they were presented with certificates and badges to confirm their new status.

Right after the ceremony, the two Ghanaian ships bade farewell to the Hersel Woody Williams ship and headed to the Western Naval Command in Secondi in the Western Region. 

Commendation

The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, commended the crew members for their unwavering dedication, professionalism and teamwork.

“Crossing the equator at the centre of the earth is not only a nautical feat, but also a symbolic moment of unity as we transcend boundaries and enter new horizons together.

I commend your unwavering commitment to excellence and your relentless pursuit of success in fulfilling our mission,” he said. 

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