Sekondi, Feb. 20, GNA – President John Evans Atta Mills has commissioned four fast patrol ships ordered from China by the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) at the Western Naval Command at Sekondi.
The ships are GNS Blika, GNS Garinga, GNS Chemle and GNS Enwor.
President Mills said the Ministry of Transport, the Ghana Maritime Authority and the Ministry of Defence are establishing a Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System (VTMIS) along the entire coast of the country.
He said the system would include coastal radar stations with command and control centers that would enhance the ability to maintain effective surveillance over the waters.
“When this is fully established and the system is complemented with naval ships and maritime patrol aircraft, we should be able to improve the operational control of our maritime domain adding that the country would soon take delivery of two newly refurbished Ex-German Navy Fast Aircraft currently undergoing refitting in Germany ”, he said.
President Mills said the Slipway Rehabilitation Project carried out by Messrs Damen of Netherlands and the MTU Test Bench Project by MTU of German would be completed and commissioned.
He said these projects would enable the Navy carry out routine docking and periodic refitting locally to save the millions of foreign exchange that would be spent when such works are done abroad.
President Mills said the same facilities would be used to support local fishing vessels and other vessels engaged in the oil and gas industry.
He said, “The investment in re-equipping the Navy and other security agencies should be viewed as a means of sustaining the atmosphere of peace and security needed for the development of other sectors”.
Lieutenant General Joseph Henry Smith (rtd), Minister of Defence, said two of the ships were acquired by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the exclusive use in enforcing the fisheries regulations and laws at sea.
He commended the MOFA for the extensive collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Defence to ensure law and order at sea.
Rear Admiral Matthew Quashie, Chief of Naval Staff, said the Ghana Navy has not commissioned new ships for the past 32 years.
He said the ships have been named after venomous snakes in the Ga-Adangbe, Dagbon, Ahanta and Ewe dialects and that the navy is now in a more better position to protect marine resources including oil and gas facilities.
Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the construction of 14 landing beaches in various parts of the country with the Chinese loan would begin this year.
Mr Zhao Zhengao, President of China Poly Group, said he was hopeful that the boats would greatly improve the maritime patrol capabilities of the Ghana Navy and contribute to safeguarding the country’s territorial waters.