We are ready to secure Ghana’s territorial seas and marine infrastructure. – Ghana Navy

The Ghana Navy (GN) has strengthened its readiness to protect Ghana’s territorial waters and maritime installations by testing its ships’ endurance and combat readiness.

This was accomplished by resurrecting the old tradition of crossing the Equator, called in nautical jargon as ‘Crossing The Line’ and branded ‘Exercise Sea Lion 2024’, to test the durability and preparedness of the military ships and soldiers onboard.

The four-day sail of the selected Ghana naval Ships (GNS) Volta and Ankobra in the company of a United States (US) naval ship began in Tema on Monday, March 19-22, in Sekondi, covering a total distance of 650 nautical miles and crossing the Equator on Thursday, March 21, at precisely 7:15 a.m.

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) initiated the joint multinational exercise, which saw the ships travel 340 nautical miles from Tema to the Equator to touch the centre of the earth at longitude and latitude 0 at exactly 7:15am on Thursday, March 21, for the first leg of the journey, and 310 nautical miles from the Equator to Sekondi for the second leg of the journey, arriving at 9:55am on Friday, March 22.

At the Equator, personnel onboard the ships were initiated into King Neptune’s Kingdom after being guided through its rituals, changing their status from Pollywogs to Shellbacks. Lieutenant General Thomas Oppong-Peprah, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), flagged off the ships at Tema Harbour on Tuesday, March 19, stating that the exercise’s objectives, in addition to testing the ships’ endurance and combat readiness, were to improve maritime security, train personnel in fleet manoeuvres, and conduct a joint exercise between the three arms of the GAF.

According to him, “Exercise Sea Lion 2024” was also designed to teach the navy’s Special Boat Squadron (SBS) in counterterrorism and hostage rescue operations, as well as men from the Ghana Army Special Operations Brigade (GASOB) in amphibious landing operations.

Lt. Gen. Oppong-Peprah emphasised that the exercise’s joint nature would help build interoperability among GAF arms for future operations and contemporary security threats such as piracy and terrorism in the West African sub-region, which required a robust, comprehensive, adequately equipped, and well-trained personnel to deal with such situations.

The CDS emphasised the relevance of the exercise, which once again highlighted Ghana as the closest country to the centre of the earth, with the added goal of identifying the tourism potential that may be derived from such a journey.

Closing the “Exercise Sea Lion 2024” at Sekondi on Friday, Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu said the completion of the military amphibious exercise involving the GASOB, the SBS of the Ghana Navy, and the Fighter Squadron of the Ghana Air Force demonstrated the GAF’s extraordinary capabilities.

He said that, by meticulous planning, intense training, and coordinated efforts, such tri-service joint amphibious operation, which was executed several decades ago, demonstrated the military’s unrivalled power and readiness against any external aggression

Rear Admiral Yakubu praised the leadership of the GAF’s three arms for facilitating the process, as well as all crew members for their unshakable dedication, professionalism, and teamwork in ensuring the exercise’s successful completion. He thanked Minister-Designate for Tourism Andrew Agyapa Mercer for his support and the Ghana Tourism Authority for their engagement, and hoped to work with the authority again in the future to improve Ghana’s tourist attractions.

“To our partners from United States of America, especially the Captain and crew of Hershel Woody Williams, who participated in the Ocean Navigation Exercise, thank you for standing shoulder to shoulder with us as we strive to collaborate to achieve our shared goals and conquer our common enemies.

Your unwavering support to the Ghana Armed Forces is well acknowledged and cher­ished,” he acknowledged.

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