The navies of the US and Ghana have completed the Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) operations in West Africa.

The operations involved the Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) coordinating with the Ghanaian maritime operations centre.

AMLEP was held in compliance to Ghana’s maritime laws in its territorial waters and economic exclusion zone and is a part of the international collaborative capacity-building initiative Africa Partnership Station (APS).

"The rich resources in our waters create numerous important economic activities, and directly affect a majority of our population."

It had witnessed the cooperation and coordination of the US and Ghana maritime forces to promote their interoperability and to fortify the African maritime forces as well as the US forces to combat any illicit maritime activity.

Ghanaian Navy Flag Officer Fleet commodore Mark Yawson said: "The rich resources in our waters create numerous important economic activities, and directly affect a majority of our population.

"In the interest of preserving these resources, the international community has put in place both legal and regulatory framework which permits states to take advantage of the resources in a rational and judicious manner to enhance the socio-economic well being of their citizens. The actual implementation of this framework is both costly and difficult when taking into consideration the enormous size of maritime space of each state.

"It is therefore challenging to police the borderless seas by a single state. That is why there is the need for states to collaborate and co-operate to protect the resources in the ocean."

During the operation, the USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) and the Ghanaian boarding team partnered with the US Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Detachment personnel to enforce the maritime law and were assigned for follow-on judicial action.

The vessel had earlier participated in Ghana’s counter-piracy efforts, where Spearhead coordinated with the African Western Naval Command Maritime Operations Center (MOC) to track and escort a vessel across the Ghanaian exclusive economic zone, which was held hostage by the pirates.

Image: Captain Heidi Agle and Commodore Mark Ransford Nanabayin Yawson during the closing ceremony of AMLEP.