President Akufo-Addo (right), being welcomed by Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, Chief of the Naval Staff, while Virginia Palmer (middle), the US Ambassador, looks on
President Akufo-Addo (right), being welcomed by Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, Chief of the Naval Staff, while Virginia Palmer (middle), the US Ambassador, looks on

We’re retooling security agencies to secure maritime space — President

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that the government will retool the security agencies to secure the country's maritime domain.

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At the commissioning of three patrol vessels in Takoradi in the Western Region yesterday, the President said the new additions would make the coast unattractive to illegalities.  

The vessels — GNS Aflao and GNS Half Assini, as well as a GMA vessel named after Ghanaian industrialist, Esther Afua Ocloo, were donated to the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) by the US to help deter illegal activities such as piracy, drugs and arms smuggling and human trafficking at sea.  
 

Strategy

The President explained that the national integrated maritime strategy which was recently launched provided the necessary framework to sanitise activities and also ensure safety on the sea.

He said the government was aware of the enormous responsibility on the Navy to ensure the country’s maritime domain and the region were safe, “that is why we are taking steps to retool the Navy”.

“The country has not recorded any kidnapping on ships in the last two years.

This is a significant achievement considering the fact that we experienced several attacks on ships, including kidnapping of nine crew members on Ghanaian fishing vessels in 2021, and the continuous attacks on ships at the anchorage, particularly in Takoradi, which are not acceptable.

One of the patrol vessels

One of the patrol vessels

“I endorse efforts being made to protect ships at the anchorage and also regulate the maritime space,” the President added.

He further said that after the resolution of boundary issues with neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire, efforts were underway to ensure other challenges along the eastern border were also resolved.

“As we protect maritime territories, there is the need to maintain a significant naval presence so as to prevent criminals from exploiting the contested areas,” President Akufo-Addo said.

The Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, also said that “the Navy and the Armed Forces have seen an increase in their fleet size and equipment, adding that efforts were underway to equip the Air Force as well”.
 

Commendation

The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, commended the US government for the support and said the boats were the first two out of four donated as part of the US support to the country, saying “we are looking forward to the arrival of the remaining two”.

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, said the commissioning capped months of hard work by both the Ghana Navy and the US Navy after training of the crew and sea trials in the country.

She said the ships were former US Coast Guard Cutters which could be put to immediate use by the Ghana Navy.

“These boats are the latest in our long-standing support to the Ghana Navy, including training, technical assistance and naval infrastructure projects.

“We have all heard stories of international trawlers operating off the coast whose activities threaten the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen across the Gulf of Guinea.  

“We are providing $24 million over five years to help the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture install electronic monitoring systems on trawlers licensed to fish in Ghana,” the ambassador said.

She added that “the system would also assist the ministry, through the University of Cape Coast, to designate marine protected areas to restrict fishing and other activities to protect fragile ecosystems and species”.

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