Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Adm. Mark Ferguson and senior leaders of the command welcomed Rear Adm. Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro, Chief of the Naval Staff for the Ghana Armed Forces, Aug. 5.
The purpose of the visit was to strengthen bi-lateral ties between the two navies and discuss increased opportunities for collaboration to achieve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Face-to-face interactions with our African partners strengthen our ability to collaborate and address shared security concerns in the Gulf of Guinea,” said Ferguson. “They also serve to reinforce the U.S. Navy’s commitment to strengthening our maritime partnerships throughout the region.”
Biekro had the opportunity to visit the U.S. 6th Fleet Maritime Operations Center and discuss maritime collaboration with U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa leadership, to include Vice Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet.
As a testament to the ongoing partnership between the two navies, U.S. naval forces teamed with Ghana naval forces and interagency units earlier this spring for Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP). During the operation, the combined U.S.-Ghana boarding team was able to board three fishing vessels that were fishing illegally in Ghanaian waters.
Additionally, Ghana is a long-running participant of Obangame Express, the multinational maritime exercise held in the Gulf of Guinea, and recently hosted the initial planning event for the upcoming exercise scheduled in 2015.
“We recognize the importance of key partners like Ghana taking ownership of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea,” said Rear Adm. John Nowell, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Chief of Staff. “We continue to focus our efforts on building maritime capabilities and working with the interagency organizations in the region. I am confident we will continue to collectively benefit from engagements like this.”
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.