By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Burma Hall, Burma Camp
The Ghana Navy celebrates a Diamond Jubilee under the theme: “Celebrating 60 years of naval excellence; securing the maritime domain for national development”, after evolving into a fully-fledged military force in the sub-region, securing the territorial maritime integrity for socio-economic activities and thus has launched an anniversary logo and a book documenting its history.
The duo launch, which took off on Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, at the Burma Hall, Burma Camp, had the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament – Right Honourable Reverend Professor Michael Oquaye, as the Guest of Honour and a litany of dignitaries who virtually thronged the function to lend support for the Navy’s course.
In his welcoming address, the seventeenth Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) – Rear Admiral (R/Adr) Seth Amoama, traced the history of the Ghana Navy saying that, Naval operations were introduced to the then Gold Coast during the colonial period by the British Administration as a Naval Volunteer Force.
“The main role of this force was to conduct seaward patrols during the Second World War to ensure that the coastal waters of the colony were free from mines and safe for free movement of merchant ships.
This volunteer force later became the nucleus of the Ghana Navy when it was formally established by an act of parliament on 29 July 1959 with the mandate to protect the country from any seaward aggression and support the implementation of government policies in the maritime domain.
From that modest and humble beginning, our forebears, to whom we continuously pay glowing tribute and the government at the time, took on the challenge to modernize and expand the Navy at a very fast rate.
This led to the construction of the Sekondi harbour and acquisition of modern ships to increase the fleet size. Unfortunately, the pace of the expansion and modernisation of the Navy slowed down as the country went through series of economic downturn from the late 1960s through the seventies to the early eighties.
All the same, with the gradual and continuous support from successive governments and the unrelenting efforts of our gallant seamen and women, the Navy has witnessed growth in infrastructure, personnel and to some extent ships to become a credible force for national development.
It has become an institution with an enduring legacy of defending the territorial integrity of Ghana’s maritime space which remains very key to the socio-economic development of the country.
Ghana Navy has grown from humble beginnings, to assume a more assertive posture in contributing to regional security and stability in our sub-region.
The history of the Navy which has been well chronicled in the book titled “The History of the Ghana Navy; A case for a credible naval force for national development”, edited by Cdre Issah Yakubu, Naval Lieutenant Amponsah-Duodu and Lawyer Issah Adams, and Published by Digi Books for the Ghana Navy, would give us the opportunity to appreciate the sacrifices of forebears and guide the path of current and future generations.
The then CNS – the late Vice Admiral Owusu-Ansah – considered that at the 40th Anniversary in 1999, it was significant for the Navy to document its achievements and make good account of its existence.
To put his words into action, he composed a board to commence work on the book before he went into retirement and fortunately, his retirement did not stall work on the book, as all predecessors who came after him, contributed in diverse ways to the progress of the book and after 20 years of painstaking research, interviews and editing, the book is finally ready.
The anniversary will be celebrated with series of activities in the third quarter of this year, 2019, with key among them being the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference, to be hosted by the Navy at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel in Accra, from 23 to 25 July 2019.
This conference will bring together Chiefs of navies in the sub-region and other international allied countries, maritime stakeholders both local and international and industry solution providers to discuss some of the emerging challenges and threat to maritime security in Africa in general and the Gulf of Guinea in particular, and will also be used to strengthen the existing relationship with stakeholders and development partners in the maritime industry.
The Navy also intends to commemorate this anniversary with a sword cutting ceremony for the construction of 2 sixty-unit accommodation blocks to be named “Navy @ 60 Quarters”, one to be constructed at the Western Naval Command in Sekondi and the other at the newly established Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC), at Sogakope, Volta Region.
At the function and duly credited, were past CNSs; Admirals Peter Kofi Faidoo, Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro, Matthew Quashie, Nuno, Gbena, Ohene-Kwapong and Commodore Steve Obimpeh.
Other dignitaries present included the National Security Adviser – Brigadier General Emmanuel Okyere (rtd), Chief of the Defence Staff – Lieutenant General Obed Boamah Akwa, Chief of the Army Staff – Major General William Azure Ayamdo, Chief of the Air Staff – Air Vice Marshal Frank Hanson, members of Association of Retired Naval Officers (ARNO).