Ghana Navy (GN) has been admitted into an international fraternity of Navies which mutually shares selected unclassified information related to merchant shipping, when it formally signed unto the Virtual-Regional Maritime Traffic Centre (V-RMTC) and the Trans-Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN).
GN’s accent onto the international naval network, signed by Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) – Rear Admiral (R/Adm) Issah Adam Yakubu, took place on Tuesday, 8 November, 2022, aboard the Italian Navy Ship ITS NAVE BORSINI, which was visiting Ghana and was berthed at the Tema Harbour.
In a speech preceding the signing, the CNS stating the strategic importance of the V-RMTC and T-RMN, said the Gulf of Guinea is beset with security challenges, such as piracy, illegal unreported unregulated fishing, trafficking of drugs and other illicit products, amongst others, and that the need to know what is happening is critical, alongside the building of capacity through at-sea and ashore joint training amongst the cohort, would help to curb the spate.
Admiral Yakubu said, in a bid to address the challenges, the GN Agenda 2024 Maritime Security Strategy recognizes the need to collaborate with other Navies, both at the regional and international levels, and that since maritime security issues are well beyond the scope of one navy, a collaboration between navies with a view to sharing resources or capabilities, is certainly the way to go.
The V-RMTC is a virtual network connecting Maritime Operation Centers (MOC) of member Navies, based on commercial hardware and a software developed by the Italian Navy, with valuable agreed principles to share among participants, selected unclassified information related to merchant shipping.
The hub of the V-RMTC is located in Rome, at the Fleet Command Headquarter (CINCNAV), with the Italian MOC having the role of gathering and merging the information received, broadcasting a single near-real time recognized picture to all V-RMTC participating Navies. The V-RMTC is believed to have proved to be an effective instrument that, while enhancing the Maritime Situational Awareness, also strengthens mutual trust, builds confidence among shareholders and allows to create synergies by sharing information and resources.
The information shared have proven to be of reliable origins, while the exchange flow is strictly based on a will-to-share policy, where every member can benefit from a low cost and user-friendly system, managed with a shareholding ownership, and the information shared remains within the community and cannot be released outside.
V-RMTC and the T-RMN community now has combined member Navies from Albania, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Ecuador, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Liberia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, UK and the USA.
R/Adm Valentino Rinaldi – Commander of the 3 Naval Division the Italian Navy, led the Italian contingent onboard the 74-crew, helicopter and hangar borne ITS NAVE BORSINI, whose Commanding Officer (CO) is Commander (Cdr) Carlo Corso.
Present at the ceremony included the Deputy Italian Ambassador to Ghana – Her Excellency Alessandra Oliva, the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, GN – Commodore Maxwell Arhen, CO, Naval Base Tema – Cdr Michael Cudjo, and some Senior Officers of GN.
By Kofi Ampeah-Woode