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Defense Minister Commissions Four Chinese Defender Class Boats for The Ghana Navy

The Minister for Defense, Hon. Dominic Nitiwul, has commissioned four Chinese defender class boats at the Naval Command in Sekondi in the Western Region.

 

The boats were presented in September this year to the Government of Ghana by the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China.

 

He said it is gratifying to note that the four new boats constituted part of a generous grant from the Government of China to re-equip the Ghana Armed Forces following Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s visit to that country, adding that other areas of support within the framework of the bilateral security cooperation between the two countries include the recently announced donation of a grant of 50 Million Renminbi (RMB), approximately thirty three million Ghana cedis (GH₵33,000,000.00) of which the Navy would get its generous share.

 

Hon. Nitiwul said government appreciated the importance of the maritime domain and its resources to Ghana’s socio-economic development. In that regard government understood the inevitable role of the Navy in safeguarding and ensuring sustainable exploitation of the country’s maritime resources to the benefit of the nation.

 

He said government was aware of the growing complexity of maritime challenges confronting the Navy, notably poaching, illegal bunkering, drugs and arms trafficking, which present enormous implications not only to Ghana but to all the countries within the Gulf of Guinea region.

 

In view of this, the new boats would make the Ghana Navy more efficient in surmounting these maritime threats and would also help protect the country’s offshore oil and gas industry and facilities.

 

Hon. Nitiwul stated that with the conclusion of the maritime boundary dispute with Cote d’Ivoire recently, oil exploration and exploitation activities which stalled because of the dispute were going to be intensified in the coming years. As per the agreement between the President of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire a fortnight ago, there was going to be vigorous engagement between the two countries to cordially implement the ruling of the special chamber of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

 

He said the boats were not assets only for the Navy but strategic national assets which each and everyone must be interested in their efficient use and maintenance. He urged the crew who would be in charge of the boats to handle them in a professional manner as they would handle their own properties in order to ensure that the boats remain operational for a considerable time.

 

He said government was determined to change the phenomenon where men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces did not have adequate accommodation and that government as part of the barracks regeneration programme, started the construction of four (4) sixteen (16) unit accommodation units at Burma camp.

 

The Minister added that government had also released an amount of GH₵23m to help complete the SSNIT housing project, which was started in 2007 but abandoned. As part of the activities of government in 2018, the construction of housing units would be rolled out across all garrisons.

 

He thanked Her Excellency Madam Sun Boahong, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana and the Government and People of the People’s Republic of China for their generous and continued friendship and goodwill to Ghana.

 

Madam Boahong for her part said the government had been positively building the export-oriented economy and the sea rout was becoming more and more important. She said Ghana’s strategic significance of maritime interest was highlighted as the Sankofa oil field was formally put into production in July.

 

However, the piracy problem in the Gulf of Guinea was continuously on the rise in recent years and the menace severely threatens Ghana’s shipping and economic security, the international maritime trade routes and the regional peace and security.

 

She said in view of this, China was willing to positively participate in the international anti-piracy cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea and ready to offer help to Ghana on maintaining the order of maritime transportation and building capacity on infrastructure construction.   

 

The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral K.P Faidoo, in his remark said the introduction of the four new boats would augment the Ghana Navy Fleets and their operational capabilities and effectiveness. This, he said, would enhance the execution of the mission which was ensuring a safe, secure and clean maritime domain for the benefit of the country.

 

He said the arrival of the boats was opportune in terms of the growing offshore oil and gas industry and the rising maritime rift which the Ghana Navy is determined to deal with. 

 

The boats were named after four formal Chiefs of Naval Staff who throughout their carrier offered distinguished service and exemplary leadership that has helped bring the Navy to where it is today. They are Vice Admiral Mathew Quarshie, Rear Admiral John Gbenah, Rear Admiral Sampa Nuno and Rear Admiral Geoffrey Biekro.  

 

Source: ISD (Fredrick Senu-Richards)