Vice President of the Republic of Ghana urges Participants of “Exercise Obangame’’ Express 2015 to enhance Cooperation between ECOWAS and ECCA
27 March 2015. The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana His Excellency, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur on Friday, 27, March 2015 urged participants of the Naval corps from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCA) to use the experience acquired from’’ Exercise (Ex) Obangame’’ to enhance their corporation to ensure a safe Maritime Security environment in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Vice President underscored that in recent times, there has been significant security challenges confronting the Gulf of Guinea such as piracy, smuggling of narcotic drugs, illegal unregulated and unreported fishing.
He made these remarks during at the closing ceremony of the 5th ’’ Exercise Obangame’’ Express 2015 at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) on Friday, March 27, 2015 at Teshie in Accra.
The Vice President in his remarks said such maritime security challenges threaten global trade and the economies of the countries in the sub- region, therefore the need for collaboration effort to combat piracy, adding, it is also to prepare ECOWAS and ECCA face future threats and prevent war and disruptions in the lives of individuals.
He underscored that the nine-day Exercise which begun on Thursday 19, March 2015 was an Annual Multinational Maritime Exercise organized by the United States Africa Command together with the Guinea Maritime Nations of ECCA and ECOWAS aimed towards achieving Maritime Safety and Security in the sub region.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur further stated that the word ‘’Obangame’’, a Cameroun native language which means “Togetherness’’ is also to facilitate corporation and exchange of information among the maritime nations in the Gulf of Guinea. The Exercise which was hosted and controlled in Ghana at GAFCSC and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre (KAIPTC) had participating countries from Togo, Nigeria, Angola, Cote d’ Ivoire, the United States (US),Belgium, Guinea, Germany, Turkey and other East and West African States.
‘’It provides a mechanism, safety value for minimizing the international tensions that provides war on land, sea and air’’, he added.
His Excellency Amissah-Arthur expressed his gratitude to the United States (US) Government and US Naval Forces both Europe and Africa for choosing Ghana to host the Exercise as well as the role played by the International Maritime Trade and all stakeholders and participants for making the exercise a success.
Earlier in the opening ceremony, the then Deputy Minister for Defence, Hon Mr Alex Segbefia expressed his profound gratitude to the US Africa Command for hosting this year’s Exercise in Ghana and the success of the 2014 version held in Nigeria last year.
Hon Alex Segbefia mentioned that the Exercise among others would improve upon security and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the Maritime domain and also would demonstrate operational capabilities and power projections to effectively evaluate tactical unit and maritime operational capabilities.
The Deputy Minister for Defence said through the previous exercises a number of platforms have been improved and there has been an addition of more ships and helicopters for the operation during the Exercise and the Zone-E multinational centre has also been established in Benin to evaluate tactical and Maritime operations.
He entreated the participants and organizers of ‘’Exercise Obangame’’ to minimize the failures and build upon their previous knowledge and build upon what they will acquire during the Exercise to help build a better collaboration and security in the sub region.
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Rear Admiral Geoffery Mawuli Biekro in his opening remarks stated that this year’s Exercise will be built on the success of last years’ hence the need to deal with illegal perpetuators and improve upon measures in dealing with piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
He said incidents of piracy are on the ascendency and do not only deprive revenue in various country but poses a threat on the economy and the Gulf of Guinea. He therefore urged participating countries to work hard to fight piracy.
The CNS expressed his appreciation to the US Naval Force and the US Embassy for their immense support in fighting piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and commended participants of ‘’Exercise Obangame’’ 2014 and urged them to work hard.
The US representative in charge of Affairs at the US Embassy in Ghana, Madam Pat Alsup noted that there was the need to work together to strengthen our defence system in order to fight against piracy, illegal trafficking in the sub region.
‘’We will have no tolerance with those who will exploit illegality at sea’’ she added. She further commended Ghana for hosting the Exercise and said programmes such as US convention, law at sea, Maritime intelligence will begin to bare fruits in the sub region.
Among the dignitaries to grace the occasion were the Commander, 6th Fleet, and Naval Striking and Support Forces, Nato, Vice Admiral James Foggo, Officer in Tactical Command of the exercise and the US Naval Army, Chief of Army Staff, Maj Gen Richard Opoku-Adusei, Chief of Staff, Maj Gen Bobson Saagbul , Commandant KAIPTC, Bri Gen Obed Acquah, Commandant GAFCSC, Air Vice Marshall Issifu Sakib Kadri, Capt John Rinko, some senior and junior officers of GAF and some personnel from other security services.
Ghana Navy Conducts “Practical Leadership Exercise 2015”
27 March 2015. The Ghana Navy has conducted its 2015 “Practical Leadership Exercise” (PLX) at the Naval Base Sekondi.
The two-day exercise, which commenced on Thursday 26 March and ended on Friday 27 March 2015, was meant to select a team for the impending “EX TIGER’S PATH (ETP) 2015”. Thus it was the responsibility of the Ghana Navy to equip personnel, through training, with First Aid skills and techniques to enable them provide first aid assistance to team members in case of casualties suffered as a result of attacks whilst on tactical operations; navigation abilities as well as other tactical operations capabilities.
The composition of the teams were as follows: Team Alpha was drawn from Naval Headquarters (NHQ) and Eastern Naval Command (ENC); Team Bravo was also drawn from the Western Naval Command (WNC), Navy Trade Training School (NTTS) and Naval Base Sekondi (NBS), whilst Team Charlie comprised personnel drawn from Ghana Navy Fleet, Naval Dockyard (NAVDOCK) and Ghana Navy Stores Depot (GNSD). In all there were twenty-three participants in each team, including officers and female ratings.
At about 0900 hours, the participating teams were bused from the Base to the Daboase general area to start the exercise. Some of the activities that were engaged in during the Practical Leadership Exercise included Navigation, Communication Skills, Weapon Handling Skills, First Aid, Tactical Walk, and others. The exercise was started at Ntommem D/C Primary School in Daboase around 1000 hours. The finishing point was at Naval Base Sekondi, where the exercise was crowned with obstacle crossing.
At the end of the two-day Practical Leadership Exercise, awards were presented to deserving teams and individuals. Team Charlie emerged the overall winner of the competition. For their excellent teamwork and coordination, they also emerged the best team in obstacle crossing as well as the best in First Aid. Team Alpha took the second position in the competition whilst Team Bravo came third but was adjudged the best team in navigation.
The exercise was eventful as participants exhibited rare leadership skills, endurance and teamwork.
Captain (GN) Samuel Walker, who delivered the closing remarks on behalf of FOC WNC, divulged that the “PLX” was aimed at selecting a formidable team to represent the Ghana Navy in “EXERCISE TIGER’S PATH (ETP)” which is slated for July this year. He stated that ETP is not only about physical fitness but it also included jungle training, first aid, navigation and tactical operations. Hence personnel were required to train very well to meet the demands of ETP by taking physical training seriously.
Capt (GN) S Walker emphasized that since the military work was not an easy one; personnel had to be physically strong, mentally alert and spiritually sound. He therefore encouraged them to train hard and prepare themselves for any exercise that may come their way whilst in the military.
He commended the Organising Committee, the participating teams as well as individuals for making the exercise successful. He also congratulated Team Charlie for victoriously emerging the overall winner of the 2015 “Practical Leadership Exercise”.
5Bn wins Ex-Tarantula 2015
27 March 2015. The 5 Infantry Battalion emerged the Overall Best Team of the Southern Command Inter-Unit Navigation Exercise code-named Ex-Tarantula on 27 March 2015 at Alavanyo Kpeme.
2 Infantry Battalion and 66 Artillery Regiment were awarded second and third places of the competition.
The exercise which spanned 23 to 27 March 2015, closed with a colourful assemble of the various traditional leaders of Nkonya-Alavanyo general area and the Biakoye District in the Volta Region.
In his closing remarks the General Officer Commanding Sothern Command, Brig Gen SK Adeti reiterated the need for peaceful cooperation among the people of the disputed area- Nkonya Alavanyo in resolving the situation.
“Look at this soil and tell me what it can’t do…what about it that you suffer it. This land is good for cultivation as well as construction and being abused lying fallow…? Why don’t you put it to good use for better development of all?” Brig Gen Adeti intimated.
He reminded troops to look for ways of enhancing good working relations in the Armed Forces and noted that efforts are being made to improving GAF to become a model in the sub region.
The annual event provided a platform to test individual physical fitness and endurance. It was also to test participants in compass and map use and the organisation of navigation party in a tactical environment.
Ex-Tarantula was aimed at engendering a competitive spirit among Southern Command Units and for command to identify potential participants for future Inter-Command competitions.
Present at the ceremony were the District Chief Executive of Biakoye, Hon Nana Akatta Louis, Nana Okotor Kofi III, Paramount Chief of Nkonya, Togbe DagadoVIII, Paramount Chief of Akpini Traditional area - Kpando, Nana Ampem Darko III, Ankobeahene of Nkonya and a representative of Nana Kwadjo Asiakwa II, Wuropong Traditional area and Commanding Officers of the Participating teams.
Vice Admiral Foggo Visits GAF
26 March 2015. The Deputy Commander United States (US) Naval Forces for Europe and Africa, Vice Admiral James Foggo and a seven member delegation have visited the General Headquarters of Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) on 26 March 2015 at Burma Camp.
Vice Admiral Foggo was received by the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS)Rear Admiral Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro and his staff on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Vice Admiral Matthew Quashie and the Service Chiefs.
Vice Admiral Foggo commended the Ghana Navy for the giant strides they have achieved over the years and for the brilliant use of their resources to organise first class operations for the benefit of the country. He also acknowledged the Navy for the adherence of rules and regulations guiding the Fisheries sector.
He noted that his sixth year in this position of Deputy Commander from 2010 has see massive progress in the maritime field.
Vice Admiral Foggo touched on the support the US Navy can render to GAF, which includes maritime security, piracy on the Gulf of Guinea, terrorism, hosting of the ‘Power for Safe Africa’ Symposium and stressed on the securing of the Navy’s Computer system from pirates, terrorist and fraudsters.
He lauded the CNS for his great leadership, the transformation of the Ghana Navy and for organising strategic maritime exercises such as the Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Conference and Exhibition and the Exercise Obangame Express 2015 which goes a long way to build upon the capacity of persons in the maritime domain and hoped that in the coming years more of such exercises will be organised to aid in the sharing of intelligence and work on insurgencies.
Vice Admiral Foggo described his first visit to Ghana as special since it was his first time in Africa. He was delighted to honour Ghana’s invitation to partake in the Exercise Obangame Express 2015 and for the existing relationship between US and Ghana’s Navy.
He recommended that the Navy creates an advertisement campaign for public awareness on the good works they are doing and to attract potential recruits and officers.
Rear Admiral Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro on behalf of the High Command welcomed Vice Admiral Foggo to Ghana and GAF. He briefed him on the current operations and exercises the Ghana Navy has undertaken.
He disclosed that the Ghana Navy has made in its little way to curb piracy in the region through partnership programmes. He listed them as collaborating with its neighbouring Navy institutions like Togo, Benin and Cote D’Ivoire to dialogue on piracy on the Somalia waters, organised joint exercises, exchange visits and issued a communiqué from their fruitful dialogues on piracy.
The CNS mentioned that the Ghana Navy has coordinated and collaborated with stakeholders in the maritime domain in Ghana and involve them in Ex-Obangame to bring on board their expertise in securing the Exclusive Economic Zone of the country and the region at large.
As part of securing the maritime domain, he stated that, a Naval Base has been established at the eastern part of the country at Sogakope at the Estuary to serve as a Training Command where the first batch recruits will be sent for training.
The CNS listed some of the operations carried out as Embarking on Fisheries Enforcement patrol, inspecting the West African Gas Pipelines and organising daily Anchorage patrol. He further assured Vice Adm Foggo of the Ghana Navy’s host preparedness to the next ‘Power for Safe Africa’ Symposium with their Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Conference and Exhibition when granted the go ahead by the government.
He disclosed that the Ghana Navy would be coming out with a weekly television programme entitled ‘Time with the Navy’ on the national television on maritime security. Rear Admiral Biekro thanked the US Navy for their support and encouragement, for upgrading their Maritime Operation Centre (MOC) and promised to take good care of their equipments.