The Ghanaian newspaper The Graphic reported on 5 January that four new fighter vessels have been acquired for the Ghana Navy to enhance their capacity to protect the country’s maritime domain, including offshore oil and gas installations. Known as Flex-fighter Boats, the security vessels, which are expected to arrive in the country on Saturday, will boost efforts at making Ghana’s maritime space safer and unattractive to pirates and other illegal activities.
Oil companies have been hiring private boats to provide security for their offshore oil and gas installations. Ghana Navy ships would be the only vessels allowed to protect offshore oil and gas activities in the country. The source described the current arrangement where oil companies hired civilian commercial boats flying their countries’ flags with state armed guards as unfortunate and said the practice would now be a thing of the past. There have been growing piracy and other criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea in recent times.
The Ghana Navy has been carrying out maritime exercises to demonstrate its resolve to deal with issues of piracy, illegal fishing, smuggling, and other criminal activities in Ghana’s territorial waters. The vessels, which will be manned by Naval captains with international ratings, are equipped with the needed logistics to protect national installations and deter and make the country’s adjoining coast safer. The acquisition of the vessels is part of the agenda of the government to equip the Ghana Navy to provide security for offshore petroleum installations and other national assets.
Based on Penguin’s well-proven Flex-40 Series crew boat design and powered by three Caterpillar C32 main engines, the Flex Fighter is the oil industry’s standard for armored security crew boats, with industry-leading speed, comfort, and endurance. Penguin’s Flex Fighter Vessels is fitted with all-round wheelhouse ballistic protection, machine gun mounts with gunner shields forward and aft, plush cabins and amenities for 12 security personnel, heavy-duty/self-cleaning fuel oil purifier, external fire fighting monitor, as well as reclining seats for 54 pax and a 93-sqm cargo deck. Through a group of wholly owned, integrated subsidiaries, Penguin operates a fleet of crewboats and passenger ferries, as well as shipyards in Singapore and Batam, Indonesia.