U.S. Donated Ships Join the Ghana Navy

GNA Aflao - one of the donated ships.


Vessels Will Improve Maritime Security in Ghana and the Gulf of Guinea

Sekondi, W/R, Ghana – U.S. Ambassador Virginia Palmer joined President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Government of Ghana and Ghana Navy officials in Sekondi this morning to commission two new security ships.  The boundary class ships provided by the United States Government will improve maritime security in Ghana’s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea.

“Piracy and illegal fishing pose a persistent threat to Ghana’s prosperity.  These 86-foot ships will help the Ghana Navy increase patrols to address these threats,” said Palmer at the commission event at the Naval Base Sekondi.

A group photo
President Akufo-Addo, Ambassador Palmer and other dignitaries at the commissioning of the ships.

Following sea trials and joint training with the U.S. Navy, the ships were commissioned into the Ghana Navy this morning.  The United States and Ghana are working together to address maritime security concerns in the Gulf of Guinea through joint training, technical assistance, financial support, and naval exercises.  Visiting the Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC) last month, Ambassador Palmer announced more than $6 million for construction, equipment, and training for the Ghana Navy.

The United States strongly supports Ghana’s leading role in regional security and peacekeeping.  In 2023, the United States will provide $20 million in training, equipment, and technical assistance for the Ghana Armed Forces.


Ambassador Palmer’s Remarks
Ghana Navy Patrol Boat Commissioning
at Sekondi Naval Base, Sekondi, Western Region
Saturday, September 9, 2023
*As Prepared*

Good morning!  It is truly a special day.  Your excellency, thank you for the invitation to join you here this morning.

Today, we commemorate yet another milestone in our decades-long security cooperation.  We are especially proud of this relationship, which supports Ghana’s leading role in regional security and peacekeeping.

It is an honor to join leaders of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Navy here today.  Since April 2020, the Embassy and the U.S. Navy have worked with the Ghana Navy and Ministries of Defense and Finance to get these ships here.

Today’s commissioning caps months of hard work by the Ghana Navy and the U.S. Navy to complete full training for the crews and sea trials in Ghana’s waters.

These two former U.S. Coast Guard Cutters will be put to immediate use by the Ghana Navy to ensure the security and prosperity of Ghana’s territorial waters, exclusive economic zone, and the Gulf of Guinea writ large.  And because they will increase the Ghana Navy’s high seas patrols, they will also contribute to security and prosperity of the Gulf of Guinea.

These boats are the latest in our long-standing support for the Ghana Navy, including training, technical assistance, and naval infrastructure projects.  Admiral Amoama and I were at NAVTRAC in the Volta Region just last month to commission a pier, a school for community near the base, and more than $6 million in U.S. support for the Ghana Navy’s Special Boat Squadron.

 

Ambassador Palmer delivering remarks at the commissioning of GNS Aflao and GNS Half Assini.

Maritime security is critical to Ghana’s sovereignty and prosperity. Piracy and illegal fishing in the Gulf of Guinea are a persistent menace, threatening the livelihoods and traditions of Ghana’s fishing industry.  We’ve all heard the stories of international trawlers operating just off the coast that threaten the livelihoods of tens of thousands of fishermen across the Gulf of Guinea.  And there are few regions that depend on fishing more than here in the Western Region.

These vessels are the newest component of U.S. support to protect and regenerate these fragile fisheries.  We are providing $24 million over five years to help the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture install electronic monitoring systems on trawlers licensed to fish in Ghana and to assist the Ministry, working with the University of Cape Coast, to designate Marine Protected Areas that restrict fishing and other activities to protect fragile ecosystems and species found there.  These boats’ patrols will ensure – and magnify – the effect of these efforts.

Secure waters are key to Ghana’s prosperity.  These vessels will help deny pirates, traffickers, and other criminals the use of the sea for their illegal activities, making Ghana and the region not just safer but more prosperous.  Instances of piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf peaked at 123 in 2020 and have plummeted since with only 5 such instances through March of this year. Ghana’s National Integrated Maritime Strategy is a continuation of that effort to make the Gulf safe for all.

Secure maritime commercial routes mean more economic growth as well.  Gulf of Guinea maritime routes will only become more important as the region continues its economic integration.  As the African Continental Free Trade Agreement eliminates trade barriers, the region is poised to benefit – and safe, efficient transport will be a key enabler for that growth.

I’ll close by thanking the many Ghanaians and Americans who worked together to make this handover possible, by thanking you, Your Excellency, sincerely, for your regional and international leadership and for the partnership between the U.S. and Ghanaian militaries which makes us all more secure and more prosperous.  Medase.