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Government Will Equip The Navy To Deal With Maritime Security Threat - Bawumia
 
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29-Mar-2017  
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Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday gave the assurance that the Government would equip the Ghana Navy and other stakeholders in the maritime industry to protect and preserve the vital national assets.

He said government had decided to purchase two offshore vessels with helicopter landing facilities for the Navy, and also establish a Forward Operating Base in the Western Region, to train and equip Special Forces to deal swiftly with any maritime security threat.

He said: “Maritime security is a collaborative effort involving many agencies and other countries since there is no physical boundary at sea,” he stated.

Therefore, he said, government was making frantic effort to equip the Marine Police Unit of the Ghana Police Service, the Judiciary and other agencies to expeditiously prosecute maritime offences.

The Vice President said this at the opening of the third Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Africa Conference and Defence Exhibition in Accra.

The event, organised by the Ghana Navy and the Ministry of Defence, in partnership with the International Quality and Productivity Centre, brought together experts in the maritime security in Africa and other advanced countries, to discuss and adopt modern strategies to deal effectively with maritime threats.

Dr. Bawumia noted that coastal and maritime surveillance was a major operational component of maritime security, therefore, bringing together experts and professionals in the industry was the best way forward, saying; “maritime security has been a major issue for countries in the Gulf of Guinea in their quest for socio-economic development”.

He said it was the vision of the Government to make Ghana the most attractive investment destination in Africa and expressed optimism that the conference would provide the opportunity for technology transfer and investment.

The Vice President noted that the resources at the maritime domain was enormous, however, it had been undermined by multifaceted domestic, regional and international maritime security threats, which threatened the socio-economic stability of the Sub-region.

He said the pervasive insecurity in the resource-based maritime environment had resulted in annual financial losses to the tune of two billion dollars in the Sub-region and, therefore, significantly constraining investments, growing prospects and having adverse political consequences.

In view of this, he said regional and international strategies had been proposed as the possible solution to the growing threats and, therefore, urged the stakeholders to find new concepts and technologies to effectively deal with the challenge.

“The conference is timely since it will provide opportunity to maritime security and surveillance experts, chiefs of services and senior commanders from the various African countries to discuss threats posed to the maritime domain in the Sub-region,” he stated.

The Vice President observed that since the nation discovered crude oil in commercial quantities in 2007 with various oil installations offshore, it had made the country’s maritime domain a critical national assets and security threat.

Therefore, he said, government was working with other neighbouring countries under the auspices of the Yaoundé Accord, Code of Conduct of Maritime Security and Heads of State to strengthen the country’s maritime environment.

He said, under the accord, a number of coordinating centres were established within the Gulf of Guinea and Ghana had agreed to host the coordinating centre comprising Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

This, he said, showed the commitment of the Government towards safeguarding maritime security in the Sub-region and assured that, it would support other neighbouring countries to strengthen their maritime security since any maritime threat would have rippling effects in the Sub-region.

The Vice President indicated that government was looking at long term partnerships and standardisation across the Sub-region and, therefore, tasked the service chiefs to work with their counterparts in other countries to find solution to the maritime security challenge.

In his welcome address, Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo, the Chief of Naval Staff, said the challenges in the maritime domain were dynamic, therefore, it required constant review in order to be abreast with new emerging security threats, hence the conference would provide an opportunity to assess the country’s maritime security and that of the Sub-region.

He said the country being an oil producing nation with offshore installations makes it critical to upgrade the human resource base, surveillance and equipment so that it could respond promptly to any maritime threat.

He said the Navy would collaborate with other stakeholders in protecting and preserving the vital offshore installations.

The Chief of the Naval Staff gave the assurance that the Navy would always present disciplined and combat-ready security force that would protect the interest of the nation for accelerated national development.
 
 
 
Source: GNA
 
 

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