General News of Sunday, 9 March 2014
Ghana’s former President, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings on Saturday visited the Italian aircraft carrier, Cavour, which berthed in Accra last Wednesday. The carrier, which is leading a group of vessels, is travelling to ten countries on the continent to provide humanitarian services, showcase Italian military hardware and offer humanitarian services.
The Cavour is Italy’s latest flagship and was commissioned in 2008. Dubbed the 30th Naval Group, the Cavour is accompanied by patrol vessel Commandante Borsini, the support ship Etna and multi-mission frigate Bergamini.
The former President was given an extensive tour of the Cavour by its Commander, Rear Admiral Paulo Treu, in the company of Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Laura Carpini, and other senior officials aboard the imposing aircraft carrier.
The former President visited the on-board hospital operated by Operation Smile, which is offering free surgery to people with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities, and interacted with some of the patients and families of those who have been operated upon.
Doctors drawn from Ghana and Italy are performing the operations in the state-of-the-art mobile medical facility.
He also visited the ship’s showroom, which showcased Italian military equipment and munitions as well as furniture and other household appliances.
The former Air Force pilot got the opportunity to view fighter planes and helicopters aboard the ship and visited the carrier’s control rooms.
The government of Italy and Italian industry have voted of over 17 million euros to make the trip across the Middle East and Africa, in a bid to enhance Italian diplomacy, offer training to partner naval forces, cooperate on maritime security, as well as the provision of free medical and humanitarian support to the disadvantaged.
The Cavour and accompanying ships will also visit Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Angola, Congo, Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco and Algeria.