What Mills Said When He Commissioned 4 Ghana Navy Ships

SPEECH DELIVERED BY H.E. PRESIDENT J.E.A. MILLS AT THE COMMISSIONING OF GHANA NAVY SHIPS (BLIKA, GARINGA, CHEMLE & EHWOR) AT THE NAVAL BASE, SEKONDI. Honourable Ministers. Members of the Armed Forces Council. Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and the Interior. His Excellency Mr. Gong Jianzhong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Peoples Republic of China. Mr. Zhang Zhengao President of the China Poly Group and his high powered delegation from Beijing. The Chief of Defence Staff and the Military High Command. Traditional Leaders. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. We are gathered here to commission 4 newly built ships for service in the Ghana Navy fleet, and I am delighted to be performing this al-important duty. Of all the duties I perform as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, the moments I cherish the most, are moments like this, when we are equipping our service personnel to enable them perform their duties to the best of their ability. It is a positive development that the commissioning is taking place at a time when the responsibility of protecting our fish, offshore oil and gas resources leaves us without a choice. The need to provide a secure maritime environment for the socio-economic development of Ghana is our responsibility; a responsibility we cannot run away from. Our maritime domain abounds in diverse resources including various species of fish, oil, gas and many minerals which we need to protect for the economic development and livelihoods of our present and future generations. With the increasing incidents of piracy and other related maritime crimes, we have no option than to equip our Navy to be able to guarantee a secure environment where all legitimate entities can operate freely without hindrance. Other threats include, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, dumping of toxic waste, illegal bunkering, illegal fishing, and pair trawling. The Collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Poly Technologies Incorporated of China has resulted in the timely acquisition of these four (4) boats. Indeed, I recall visiting the offices of Poly Technologies Incorporated when I visited China in 2010 and we are grateful to them for their support. With the addition of these 4 ships, the Navy should be in a position to maintain continuous presence at sea. In a similar collaborative effort, the Ministry of Transport, the Ghana Maritime Authority and the Ministry of Defence are establishing a Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System (VTMIS) along the entire coast of Ghana. This would include coastal radar stations with command and control centers that would enhance the ability to maintain effective surveillance over our waters. When this is fully established and the system is complemented with naval ships and maritime patrol aircraft, we should be able to improve our operational control of our maritime domain. In the course of the year, we will also take delivery of two newly refurbished Ex-German Navy Fast Attack Craft currently undergoing refitting in Germany. Also in the course of the year, the Slipway Rehabilitation project carried out by Messrs Damen of Netherlands and the MTU Test Bench Project by MTU of Germany would be completed and commissioned. These projects will enable the Navy carry out routine docking and periodic refitting locally to save the millions of foreign exchange that is spent when such works are done abroad. The same facilities would be used to support our local fishing vessels and other vessels engaged in the oil and gas industry. Ladies and Gentlemen, the investment in re-equipping the Navy and other security agencies should be viewed as a means of sustaining the atmosphere of peace and security needed for the development of other sectors. As Commander-in-Chief,and as I stay committed to building a Better Ghana, I will not relent in my efforts to fully equip the Ghana Armed Forces and other security agenciesto enable our men and women in uniform derive maximum satisfaction from their chosen fields of engagement. Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to thank you all for joining me to grace this very important occasion signifying the re-birth of our beloved Ghana Navy. I have the singular honour and pleasure to declare duly commissioned: Ghana Navy Ship BLIKA (P34) Ghana Navy Ship GARINGA (P35) Ghana Navy Ship CHEMLE (P36) Ghana Navy Ship EHWOR (P37) Thank you and May God continue to bless our Nation Ghana.