Spanish Ambassador pays courtesy call on Western Naval Commander

The Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, Jose Javier Gutierrez Blanco-Navarrete, has paid a courtesy call on the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) for Western Naval Command (WNC), Commodore Samuel Walker, who also doubles as the 2 Garrison Commander.

The visit on Wednesday, April 20 was to reinforce the cooperation between the Ghana Navy and Spain through the European Union (EU) with regard to maritime security and defence as the EU was committed to the stability of the Gulf of Guinea.

According to the Ambassador, Ghana remained a top priority when it comes to maritime security because of her achievements in democracy and regional stability.

He mentioned that the Brussels and European Union Member States Capitals were working on their reinforcement strategies to support the Yaounde Maritime Architecture.

He added that they had analysed an initiative in Brussels where an assessment would be made to determine the best way to implement the initiative in the field of intelligence and maintenance for vessels as well as technical assistance in capacity building, which will strengthen the maritime security and defence to enable it fight maritime threats and terrorism.

H.E Blanco-Navarrete reiterated that with the berthing of Spanish Naval Ship Serviola P.71 at the WNC, it was an opportunity for them to cooperate with the Ghana Navy in the fight against maritime threats, know their challenges and how best they could be supported.

He said there was a good opportunity for Ghana in the context of the EU cooperation with the Yaounde Achitecture because Ghana had the capacity and will to play a leading role and also benefit from the European Union schemes. 

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He further added that inasmuch as maritime security was a key priority of the EU, the geopolitical changes in some part of the world was an opportunity for them to promote investment and build a strong partnership with Ghana. 

On his part, the FOC expressed joy to have received the Ambassador and his entourage at the Base and their interest to find out the challenges that confronted the Ghana Navy.

He said maritime safety and security was not an individual issue but international one which needed the cooperation of all countries concerned. 

He noted that it was a brilliant idea for Spain to bring their vessel to the shores of the Western Naval Command to engage them on maritime safety and security in order to get a first-hand information on what pertains on the ground.

Commodore Walker expressed their readiness to work with Spain in terms of maritime safety and security and hailed the Yaounde Architecture with the hope that gradual conscientisation and awareness will bring realism to the architecture and its execution which would help enhance maritime safety and security.

He also called for a capacity building programme for the naval personnel and other stakeholders in the maritime security domain.

He noted that Ghana was non-aligned to any specific country and was therefore ready to work and cooperate with any country as far as maritime safety and security were concerned.

He presented a plaque to the Ambassador as a sign of appreciation.

The FOC led the Ambassador and his entourage to Paramount Chief of the Essikado Traditional Area Nana Kobina Nketsia V’s palace, where they were received customarily.

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Nana Nketsia was hopeful that the cooperation between the two countries and their interaction on maritime safety and security will be enhanced to enable them fight against maritime threats within the sub region.  

The Ambassador also presented a plaque to the chief as a sign of appreciation.

The Ambassador was accompanied by the Deputy Head of Spanish Embassy, Mrs Maria Higon Valasco, Captain of the Spain Naval Ship Serviola, Lieutenant Commander Joaquin Pita Da Veiga and Executive Officer, Lt Manuel Castro Rodriguez.