Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ghana to re-capitalise navy in two years

Ghana's Navy is set to acquire 10 new vessels over the next two years as the government seeks to improve the protection of its maritime resources and newly discovered offshore oil reserves.

Local media reports have stated that the first of these ships – a 35 m-long patrol vessel from South Korea – is expected to arrive in September.

The Ghanaian Defence Minister, Lieutenant General J H Smith, announced in June 2010 that the 10 ships would be acquired as part of a short-term plan to re-equip the navy, which is not currently capable of defending Ghana's exclusive economic zone.

In November 2009 Lt Gen Smith said that the Department of Fisheries was in the process of acquiring two Chinese 46 m boats for fisheries protection, while a separate agreement was signed with China's Poly Technologies to build two additional 46 m boats specifically for the Ghana Navy for maritime protection duties.

He added that the government was also working with a German company to procure two used vessels – possibly ex-German Navy Gepard-class fast attack craft.

Ghana's navy operates two 1940s-vintage ex-US Coast Guard Balsam-class buoy tenders; four fast attack craft built by L├╝rssen – two PB 45 Dzata class and two larger PB 57 Achimota class – that are about 30 years old; and a single 20 m-long ex-US Navy PB Mk III inshore patrol craft that was built in the 1970s and transferred to Ghana in 2001.

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