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05.03.2009 General News

US has no interest in Ghana`s oil… Says American Navy officer

By Zabaga Rufai Saminu, Sekondi - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Public Affairs director of Africa Partnership Station (APS), an American agency, Lieutenant Douglas High, has stated emphatically that the United States of America does not have any interest in Ghana's oil. He said the only US interest is to seek security collaboration with the government of Ghana to combat maritime crime in the country.

Ltd. High, who is on board USS Nashville, an American ship that has docked in the country with over 500 naval officers and civilians said the US had long standing relationship with Ghana before her oil discovery recently, therefore, there was no truth in the allegation that the US government was making overtures to her counterpart in Ghana because of her oil. Lieutenant High stated this when he met the press in Sekondi recently. He is in the country to offer some three weeks training course to some of the Naval Officers in Ghana and others from central and West African states.

According to him, the US had plans to support some of the African countries including Ghana to control their maritime activities. He said it is estimated that 90% of the world's commerce passes through the sea, which called for concerted efforts to confront the growing maritime crime. He asked the government of Ghana to work in collaboration with the other countries in the world, including the USA to deal with the challenge.

Lieutenant High told the press that crimes such as illegal fishing, piracy and drug trafficking were among the challenges confronting the global maritime industry.

The Country Action Officer of Ghana's Navy, Lieutenant Bekuin Wurapa on his part noted that “Our being together help us to learn from each other on how to address these challenges”

Lieutenant Commander James Agambire, a staff of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) and exercise planner of the Ghana Navy on his part stated that efforts were being made by the Ghana Navy to confront the illegal drug trade in Ghana.

He said since drug trafficking was still ongoing; it needed adequate security to deal with the situation. “For us to be able to build our capacity, we need effective collaboration to find a modern way of fighting maritime crime,” Lieutenant Agambire stressed.

He said it was also the aim of the Ghana Navy to collaborate with their US counterparts to build their technological capacity, to work hard to constantly be ahead of the criminals. “We need to be at the forefront of tackling the challenges of maritime crime, including drug trafficking,” he added.

Capt. Cynthia M Thebaud, Commander of the ship, also told the press that the three weeks training being provided by the crew on board the ship through the Africa Partnership Station, was to further enhance the technology and build the capacity of their counterparts in Africa.

She said the collaborative effort of the APS programme, which started in 2006, was to identify appropriate requirements and priority areas of the coastline and maritime industry of Africa and be able to find improved ways of supporting the continent.

She said it was to also monitor and respond to pressing challenges, hence the building of the capacities of the aforementioned countries to confront the challenges of the maritime industry.

In Ghana for instance, three patrol boats were given to the Navy to beef up their activities.

Earlier on the day, the ASP through its outreach programme visited the Effie-Nkwanta Regional Hospital at Sekondi, to monitor an on going rehabilitation project being embarked upon by the group in collaboration with the Navy in Ghana.