Sekondi, Feb. 28, GNA - Captain Mike D. Budney, in charge of the USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) ship said the Gulf of Guinea deployment programme being implemented by six countries in Africa was meant to minimise threat to marine life. He said the ship, which has a crew of 1,400 including 300 women was capable of assisting navies of other countries to carry out specific repairs on their patrol ships, jet drives, air conditioning system and various electrical systems.
Capt. Budney said these when he paid a courtesy call on the Western Regional Minister over the weekend. He said the Land's repair department provides technical assistance in the construction of selected schools and other community work. Capt. Budney said the 2005 Gulf of Guinea deployment is meant to enhance security cooperation between the United States of America (USA) and participating countries began in January 25, and has so far visited Cameroon, Sao Tome, Gabone, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria, while sailors from these countries are also participating in the programme.
Colonel Richard B. Cronin Commander of Task Group 60.5 aboard USS Emory said the ship provides Tomahawk cruise missile and MK-48 Advanced capability (ADCAP) torpedo storage and reload support. He said the ship has a metal fabrication and general welding, flex hose manufacturing, weight testing and other technical workshops on board. Col. Cronin said the ship was launched on May 4, 1977 and has assisted several ships and submarines that needed repairs, refuelling or reloading of goods and water among others.
Mr Joseph B. Aidoo, Regional Minister said the visit was a boost to the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and would ensure an improved and combat ready army. He said conflicts on the Gulf of Guinea needed specialised attention and expressed his appreciation to the captain and his crew for working harmoniously.