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Need to resource Navy

Tue, 2 Oct 2007 Source: GNA

Accra, Oct. 2, GNA - The recent discovery of oil in Ghana, which has the potential for accelerating industrialization and economic growth requires a well equipped Navy to combat the run-offs associated with the commodity.

But presently, the Ghana Navy is not well resourced to effectively manage tasks associated with the security challenges of the oil find, Rear Admiral Arthur Riby Sampa Nunoo, Chief of Naval Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces said on Tuesday.

He was delivering a paper on the topic: "Enhancing Maritime Security in Ghana's Exclusive Economic Zone: The Challenges for the Ghana Navy", for students of Course 29 of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC).

The lecture formed part of activities marking GAFCSC's "Maritime Combat Power Week" intended to familiarize students with a clear understanding of operational procedures and service ethos that support maritime warfare.

Rear Admiral Nunoo said that while oil drilling was expected to boost the national economy, it would also come with its "dark sides". He enumerated the challenges that would surface as a result of the oil find to include environmental pollution, accidents at sea, illegal bunkering, hijacking and robbery at sea, fires on ships at sea and on oil rigs, interference by fishermen and piracy. The CNS cited the Nigeria/Cameroon conflict over the Bakassi Peninsula and the Niger Delta insecurity as some of the worrying aspects of oil discovery in the sub-region.

Therefore the discovery of oil close to borders as in the case of Ghana could be a source of maritime concern. Rear Admiral Nunoo said that for the Ghana Navy to be effective and efficient, it required a fleet with basic facilities including multi purpose fisheries protection vessels, maritime patrol aircraft, fast attack crafts, gun boats, patrol boats, dry docking facilities, spare parts and other logistical backing for ships and coastal radar and surveillance systems.

"Considering the benefits that Ghana stands to gain from a well resourced and efficient Ghana Navy, I believe that it would not be too much of a sacrifice for the nation to meet the Navy's requirements", he said. He said his vision for the achievement of maritime security for Ghana required a bigger national commitment to strengthening the navy and related maritime security agencies to enhance cooperation in regulation and enforcement of the law.

Certainly this vision for the future will face serious challenges but I hope that with the current realities confronting us, the government will give additional attention to the Navy and provide the critical support and funding", he added.

Source: GNA