Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan’s Remarks – U.S. Navy Carson City Ship Reception

Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan’s Remarks

U.S. Navy Carson City Ship Reception

Port of Tema, Ghana  |  Thursday, July 25, 2019; 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.


Deputy Minister of Defense, the Honorable Major Derrick Oduro (rtd)

Chief of Defense Staff, Lieutenant General Obed Akwa;

Fellow Ambassadors and High Commissioners,

and members of the diplomatic corps;

U.S. Naval Forces Africa Representative, Commander Ty Bruce;

USNS Carson City Captain Yamil Sanchez and the entire crew serving aboard this vessel;

Members of the media; Distinguished ladies and gentlemen;

All protocols observed:


Good evening.  It’s an honor to join you in welcoming the women and men of the Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City (T-EPF 7) to Tema, following their port call at the Ghana Naval Base in Sekondi earlier this week.  Akwaaba!

Everyone’s presence here this evening clearly conveys that we all recognize the value and potential of our regional security partnerships, and our commitment to strengthening them further. Ghana is an important lynchpin for security in West Africa, situated as it is between the troubled Sahel and the shipping lanes of the Gulf of Guinea. This month, we are pleased to join with all Ghanaians in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Ghana Navy. Bravo Zulu! That’s Navy Speak for “Ayikoo!”

Earlier this week, Admiral James Foggo visited Ghana in honor of this anniversary.  As the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Africa, Admiral Foggo directed the deployment of this ship to the Gulf of Guinea in support of Africa Partnership Station, demonstrating both progress through partnership and the U.S. commitment to West African countries. Over the past week, members of the ship’s crew have been busy here in Ghana! They have performed small boat maintenance assistance at the Ghana Navy NAVDOCK facility. They have had maritime law enforcement engagement focusing on at-sea boarding procedures, mock boardings aboard Partner Nation vessels, and tactical combat casualty care.  But wait, there’s more!

The Chaplain Corps hosted a Chaplain’s Conference onboard the Carson City, while the medical detachment conducted medical exchanges working side by side with Ghanaian counterparts at the Sekondi medical center and the emergency room at the Sekondi Hospital.

The U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band “Topside,” who is here with us tonight, played in various venues for the population of Sekondi as well as at the Tema Naval Officer’s Club last night in honor of the Ghana Navy’s 60th Anniversary.  Thank you “Topside” for the rousing renditions of the Ghanaian and U.S. national anthems, and your contributions to the success of this evening’s function through your musical talents. Tonight we formally welcome the USNS Carson City to Ghana and the Gulf of Guinea, where the crew will conduct maintenance engagements with additional nations in the region and carry out assessments and workshops on best practices and preventive maintenance of other nations’ naval fleets as well.

We value these partnerships, which are mutually beneficial, especially for the citizens of this region, whom African nations’ armed forces ultimately serve.  The United States is pleased to partner with African countries in supporting their security priorities, alongside our own priorities of increasing trade and enterprise-driven development, improving regional security, and promoting good governance.   Protecting the freedom and safety of maritime trade contributes to stability and economic prosperity, and underpins efforts to strengthen democracy and deliver services to citizens.

The United States considers it a priority to partner with nations which share our values to advance security under the guiding principles of human rights, transparency, and accountability.  Indeed, our security cooperation promotes the observance of these shared values. We understand that the first job of security forces is to protect their populations, while also meriting the confidence of their fellow citizens.  The men and women entrusted with their nation’s defense must be dedicated stewards of the people and resources under their command and responsibility.

Our maritime security partnerships prepare African nations to combat piracy and other illicit maritime activities that threaten development efforts and citizen security, and deprive states of precious resources required for fostering greater economic growth.  We work with our partners through joint engagements such as the African Partnership Station and through exercises like the multinational Obangame Express regional maritime exercise.  And let me thank Ghana in advance for its leadership and hospitality in hosting Obangame Express next year.

The United States military trains and learns side-by-side with partner forces to enhance capabilities and inter-country communications and operations. Beyond our cooperation on the sea, it is worth noting that Ghana’s armed forces have also trained U.S. military members on jungle warfare, showcasing that we learn from one another, and value each other’s military professionalism and expertise. There are a number of emerging security challenges on the horizon, ranging from illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing to violent extremism.  These challenges will test our readiness, but I am confident that we are, collectively, up the task.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, we commend your commitment to service and excellence, and thank you for joining us to welcome the USNS Carson City  to the Black Star of Africa. Long live the partnerships between the United States, Ghana, and all nations represented here tonight.

Thank you.