The Chief of the Naval Staff’s conference opened yesterday at the Burma Camp in Accra.
The two- day event on the theme: “Adopting resourceful and innovative measures to transform the Ghana Navy into a modern robust naval force”, sought to afford the participants the opportunity to brainstorm on past years’ activities towards charting a new way forward.
It also sought to interrogate critical sets of questions aimed at maintaining a robust naval force capable of defending the country against sea borne threat as well as ensuring the safety and security of the maritime domain while maintaining the time tested traditions of the Ghana Navy.
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu speaking at the ceremony said the agenda 2024 strategy of the Ghana Navy is to achieve a total surveillance coverage of the country’s maritime boundaries through the deployment of new equipped ships, increase sea presence, develop naval intelligence capabilities through improved resourcing for local seafarers.
He indicated that the agenda 2024 strategy of the Ghana Navy was to also prioritise and identify specific challenges in maritime patrols towards adopting a collaborative effort to nib it in the bud.
Rear Admiral Yakubu called for increased maritime monitoring operations, air patrols, deployment of new ships equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, develop naval intelligence and the use of local seafarers for intelligence gathering.
The CNS, stated that the threats posed by the non-traditions security agencies including pandemics, piracy and armed robbery at sea, IUU fishing, fuel and drug smuggling and the possible use by terrorist of the country’s waters should prompt a thorough re-examination of the strategies, tactics and tools needed to keep the waters safe.
“We cannot afford to stick to business as usual and allow criminals to dislocate and operate further offshore in less vulnerable patrolled water,” he added.
Rear Admiral Yakubu said. The Gulf of Guinea last year alone accounted for 95 per cent of kidnappers at sea, attempted attacks increased from the 2019 figure of 59 per cent to 79 per cent in spite of the COVID-19 bringing the total to 25 attacks this quarter alone, as such if no concrete steps are taken the cases would increase higher.
The CNS said the continents seafarers have been turned into prized commodities with about 1,500 fishing vessels, tankers and cargo ships traversing the country’s waters daily at risk.
These disasters, Rear Admiral Yakubu said called for action to commit more men and resources to deal with the crises through the building of modern navy strategic planners, ready to defend its vital interest, with thoughtful ideas that would transform its fleet into robust units to defend the territorial interest of the country.
He said the time had come for collaboration between the Ghana Navy and the air force to develop integrated concept of operations as well as adopt priority areas aimed at developing cost effective measures to achieve and explore, forward operating bases to reduce response times including the use of drones, developing more resource for forward based operations and also enhance the development of teaching aids at training schools in distance learning programmes to afford rating on sea patrols to benefit from promotion examinations.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU