On Saturday, September 9, 2023, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic, commissioned a vessel for the Ghana Maritime Authority and five (5) boats for the Ghana Navy Fleet.
President Akufo-Addo gave the Navy with ships for the second time in February 2022 when he presented the Navy with four (4) offshore security vessels.
Two 27-meter boats that will be deployed to patrol the nation’s maritime boundaries to the East and West are among the ships that the President commissioned into duty on Saturday.
Recall that the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) delineated Ghana’s western maritime boundary with Cote d’Ivoire in September 2017 and that attempts are still being made to delineate Ghana’s eastern maritime boundary with Togo.
“As we protect these maritime territories, there is a need to maintain a significant Naval presence, so as to prevent criminals from taking advantage of any contested areas,” said President Akufo-Addo. These vessels are appropriately categorized as Boundary Class Ships of the Ghana Navy, and their names are appropriate.
The President was pleased to announce that the Ghana Navy Ships HALF ASSINI and AFLAO are the result of collaboration between the Ghanaian and American governments.
“We are grateful for the benevolence of the government and people of the United States. The United States has supported Ghana’s military revitalization programme through capacity building and enhancement of our capabilities, with the support of the Navy’s Special Boat Squadron and other initiatives with the Army and Air Force,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “The current 5-year United States, Denmark and Ghana Trilateral Agreement is set to make the Navy’s Special Boat Squadron a tier-one Special Operations Force by 2026. The donation of these two 12-metre Defender Class Boats would greatly enhance the operations of the Navy in dealing with sophisticated operations when the need arises. It is refreshing to see the Navy serving as a glue that is cementing international and local partnerships towards securing our interests at sea.”
He was particularly glad that the Navy and the Ghana Maritime Authority are working together to operate the new flex-fighter, which has been procured for oil spill response.
“As you can see, different players with different expertise, need to come together to work at sea, unlike in other domains. The Petroleum Commission and Ghana National Petroleum Company, both under the Ministry of Energy, are regulator and national operator, respectively, in our upstream oil and gas industry, yet it is the Ghana Maritime Authority operating under the Ministry of Transport that has procured a vessel for oil spill response to be operated with the Navy,” he said.
Having launched the National Integrated Maritime Strategy last week, President Akufo-Addo applauded the team from the Ghana Navy who have built Ghana’s first indigenous landing craft.
“The NAVDOCK 1, which measures 11.5 metres in length, is designed to carry thirty (30) personnel and one (1) ton of cargo. Their effort embodies the ingenuity, determination and can-do spirit of the Ghanaian people. I have been reliably informed that the Ministry of Fisheries and the Naval Shipyard are partnering with some private actors to replace the wooden canoes, used for fishing, with improved aluminium boats,” he added.
He was hopeful that, in time, such collaboration will help develop the country’s shipbuilding industry, and offer jobs to the youth of this country, while mitigating the environmental impact of wooden canoes.
“I charge you to collaborate with our academic institutions and the private sector so that this innovation is developed further to include other platforms for the safe transportation of passengers and goods on the Volta Lake and along our coasts,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo, in conclusion, reminded Ghanaians of the arduous task ahead and the need to work together to guard the country’s maritime frontiers, and protect its interests.
“These vessels symbolise our resolve to safeguard our maritime sovereignty, and I have, thus, no doubt that the crew would live up to the high standards and professionalism that the Ghana Navy embodies. I acknowledge the sacrifices of the families of our servicemen and women who make certain that these gallant sailors have the peace of mind to be at sea to ply their trade,” he added.