By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
Ghana has kick started another phase of her maritime security operational plan, which has been on the drawing board, since she became an oil producing and exporting country nearly a decade ago, with the construction of a Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Ezilinbo, in the Jomoro Municipality of the Western Region.
The Commander-In-Chief (C-In-C) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and President of the Republic of Ghana – His Excellency (HE) Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, followed through an earlier promise made on 21st, March 2019, at GAF’s General Headquarters (GHQ) West African Soldiers Activities (WASSA), by cutting the sod for the construction of the military base, on Monday, 16th December, 2019, at Ezilinbo.
The military base is intended to be a facility that serves as a Naval Base with all the facilities for quicker defence deployment capabilities, towards rebuffing any particular attacks on Ghana’s hydrocarbon resources and territorial integrity, in general.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) further plans to establish other FOBs at selected locations along Ghana’s coast, to augment existing Naval ports, in places such as Elmina and Keta, in the Central and Volta Regions, respectively.
With Ghana’s daily production rate in the nascent offshore oil and gas industry, rising from 80,000 barrels per day to over 200,000 barrels per day and expected to double to 400,000 in the next four years, it is anticipated that piracy, Illegal bunkering, kidnapping at sea for ransom, illegal fishing, terrorism, drug trafficking and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, which continue to pose significant threats to National and Regional Maritime activities, should be adequately countered.
The base, which will include a Breakwater and a jetty with berthing facilities and accommodation for 150 military personnel, will also have 6 Phantom boats and provide other equipment to enhance of operational efficiency of the base, to serve as an advanced military operational location, from where the security of our offshore oil fields – TEN, SANKOFA and Jubilee – can be coordinated and maintained.
Dignitaries present at the event included, the Minister for Defence and Memebr of Parliament for Bimbilla – Dominic Nitiwul, Western Regional Minister – Kobina Okyere Darko-Mensah National Security Adviser – Brigadier General Emmanuel Otchere, the Chief of the Army Staff – Major General William Ayamdo, Chief of the Naval Staff – Rear Admiral Seth Amoama and the Chief of the Air Staff – Air Vice Marshal Frank Hanson.