Four new fighter vessels acquired for the Ghana Navy to enhance its capacity to protect the country’s maritime domain, including offshore oil and gas installations, have arrived in the country.
The Ghana Navy Ships (GNSs) Volta, Densu, Pra and Ankobra, which arrived on board a merchant vessel, the MV BBC Nile in the early hours of LAST Saturday, are currently at the quayside of the Port of Takoradi.
The Flex-fighter Boats will boost efforts at making Ghana’s maritime space safer and unattractive to pirates and other illegal activities.
The vessels, which will be manned by Naval captains with international ratings, are equipped with the needed logistics to protect national installations and also deter and make Ghana’s adjoining coast safer.
The acquisition of the vessels forms part of the agenda of the government to equip the Ghana Navy to provide security for offshore installations and other national assets.
The lack of such a fleet had compelled oil companies to hire private boats to provide security for their offshore oil and gas installations.
A source at the Ministry of Defence, however, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that henceforth, only Ghana Navy ships would be allowed to protect offshore oil and gas activities in the country.
It described the current arrangement where oil companies hired civilian commercial boats flying their countries’ flags, with state-armed guards, as unfortunate and said with the acquisition of the new vessels, the practice would now become a thing of the past.
There have been growing piracy and other criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea in recent times.
As a deterrent measure, the Ghana Navy has been carrying out maritime exercises to demonstrate its resolve to deal with issues of piracy, illegal fishing, smuggling and other criminal activities in Ghana’s territorial waters.
Port of Takoradi
When the Daily Graphic visited the Port of Takoradi, the four vessels were still fastened to the ship deck.
After the offload, the vessels will be ushered into the Home Port of the Western Naval Command, where the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will name and commission them to begin service.