The Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Jose Javier Gutierrez Blanco-Navarrete has paid a courtesy call on the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command (WNC), Commodore Samuel Walker on Wednesday 20 April, 2022.

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

According to the Ambassador, Ghana remains 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 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 of vessels as well as technical assistance in capacity building which will strengthen maritime security and defence to enable them fight maritime threats and terrorism.

HE 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.  He added that, in as much as maritime security was a key priority for the EU, the geopolitical changes in some parts of the world presents an opportunity for them to promote investment and build a stronger partnership with Ghana. 

On his part the FOC, who also doubles as the 2 Garrison Commander, expressed his joy to have received the Ambassador at the Base and his interest to finding 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 first-hand information on what transpires in the region.

Commodore Walker expressed the Navy’s readiness to work with Spain while hailing 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 capacity building programmes for naval personnel and other stakeholders in the maritime security domain.

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

As part of his visit, the Ambassador called on the Paramount Chief of the Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V. Nana Nketsia was hopeful that the cooperation between the two countries 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.