The Ghana Police Service Marine Unit has taken delivery of two Ally-Gator boats sponsored by the Japanese embassy and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The Ghana Police Service on 14 July said the Inspector General of Police David Asante-Apeatu received the boats from the Japanese embassy on 13 July during a ceremony at the Tema Police Regional Headquarters in Accra.
Presenting the boats to the Police, Japanese ambassador to Ghana Tsutomu Himeno stated that the donation of the boats is part of a broader project worth $629 000 to support the fight against maritime crime within the sub region, particularly in Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. He continued that maritime security is indispensable for greater trade and investment relations for Ghana with other countries, thus proper development will only occur when there is peace and stability.
The representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Bernard Henebeng Asamoah said the UNODC is excited to partner with the Japanese Embassy to hand over the boats to the police.
He said UNODC recognises that maritime crime poses a serious threat to the safety of seafarers, international trade and regional stability as over 90% of global trade is carried out on the seas.
The boats are aluminium Ally-Gator models manufactured by T-Craft of South Africa. They feature a broad bow and shallow V hull for greater stability. They appear to be AG 480 Enduro models with a length of 4.8 metres and capacity for six passengers. Each boat is powered by a single Mercury engine.
The UNODC said it is helping to contribute to maritime law enforcement (MLE) in Ghana and its MLE advisor has been working with the Ghana Marine Police (GMP). According to the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme Annual Report 2017, the UNODC conducted trainings on law of the sea and coordinated with other key national maritime law enforcement agencies to jointly respond to maritime crime threats in their territory.
In one case, there was a training jointly conducted with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), namely “Train the Trainer”, on law enforcement in the maritime environment. As part of the support provided by the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme, rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBS) and communication equipment were offered for patrolling and response at sea.
Apart from Japan and the UNODC, China has also donated boats to Ghana, and received four patrol boats in September 2017. Previously, Ghana bought Chinese military hardware that includes two 46 metre patrol vessels ordered from Poly Technologies in 2008. The two were commissioned in 2011. The navy also operates several other fast attack craft and patrol boats that were ordered from South Korea, the United States and Germany over the past decade.