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General News of Saturday, 13 March 2010

Source: GNA

US Government presents four boats to Ghana Navy

Sekondi, March 13, GNA - The United States (US) Government on Saturday, presented four speed patrol boats to the Ghana Navy, to help ensure maritime safety and security. Ms Julie Furuta-Toy, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Ghana presented certificates on the boats to Lieutenant-General Joseph Henry Smith (rtd), Minister of Defense, at a ceremony at the Western Naval Command in Sekondi.

Lt-General Smith thanked the US Government for the gift, which he said is an expression of the cordial relationship between the two countries and hoped the friendship between the two countries would be further strengthened. He spoke of the economic, social and security assistance the country has received from US government over the years, saying that, Ghana had received security assistance such as the International Military Education and Training (IMET) and the African Contingency Training Assistance (ACOTA) programmes.

Lt-General Smith said USS Gunston Hall; a US Naval is presently berthed at the Western Naval Command for the 2010 Africa Partnership Training Programme. He said the government is committed to equipping the Ghana Navy, to play a pivotal role in the protection of the countries maritime resources, especially fisheries stock and the oil find. He said steps were being taken to complete the Slipway and the Test bench Projects at the Sekondi Naval Dockyard to enhance fleet maintenance and ensure availability of ships to perform assigned roles.

Lt-General Smith said refits could also be undertaken at the slipway to save the nation substantial foreign exchange, adding that, plans are advanced to acquire new ships and refurbish the old ones, also training would be stepped up to upgrade the knowledge of officers and sailors. He said, "As a Government, we are also taking steps to solve the accommodation problem facing the Navy" and while congratulating officers and men of the Ghana Navy for their achievements in the midst of inadequate resources, he urged them to remain disciplined and professional and to take good care of the resources entrusted to them.

Lt-General Smith said the boats would be named after Rear Admiral Benjamin Ohene-Kwapong, Commodore Quaye, Rear Admiral Tom Annan and Vice Admiral Owusu-Ansah, all past Chiefs of Naval Staff. On her part, Miss Furuta-Toy said the four boats are meant to augment three defender boats presented to the Ghana Navy in October 2008. She said the US is proud of its multi-national military partnerships, and that from 2008 to 2009, five West and Central African Countries received 17 identical defender class boats.

Miss Betty Bosomtwi-Sam, Deputy Western Regional Minister, Rear Admiral Matthew Quashie, Chief of Naval Staff, Commodore Timothy Appiah, Flag Officer Commanding the Western Naval Command and Commodore Cynthia Thebaud, Commander of the US Africa Partnership Programme, were among the dignitaries who attend the ceremony.