SEKONDI, Ghana (NNS) -- Ghanaian and U.S. maritime forces completed Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) operations, Feb. 16, 2016.
Operations were conducted from the Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1), in coordination with the Ghanaian maritime operations center. The combined Ghana-U.S. efforts-an example of the Global Network of Navies-improved interoperability and both nation's capability to deter illicit activity that threatens freedom and security in the global commons.
"We are immensely proud of a particular success our team activated this past weekend. For more than two days our nations tracked and trailed a potential pirate vessel transiting west through the Ghanaian economic exclusion zone. Upon notification, Ghanaian and coalition partners began working together to react to the illicit platform, using the Gulf of Guinea relationships and networks we together are devoting our energy to strengthening," - Capt. Heidi Agle, Commodore, Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa/Commander, Task Force 63
"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 wellbeing 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." - Commodore Mark Yawson, Flag Officer Fleet of the Ghanaian Navy
"The seas have connected people and societies for centuries and serves as a means for prosperity. The best way to ensure prosperity is through strong relationships, established in trust with a common goal of increasing safety, stability, and deterring illegal activities. The lessons learned and partnerships established over the last couple of weeks are invaluable and we look forward to working with our partners in the future," - Cmdr. Tim Ferracci, Africa Partnership Station mission commander
*USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) and an embarked combined law enforcement detachment, working in tandem with Ghanaian Navy's Western Naval Command Maritime Operations Center (MOC) and patrol vessels, boarded two vessels and cited one of them for follow-on judicial action.
*Based on registry data and other visual identifiers, the vessel that had violations was escorted and transferred to the Ghanaian Navy in order to return those vessels to port for further investigation by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.
*Vessel queries and boardings were conducted with the objective to detect and enforce maritime law against illegal activity while also increasing proficiencies of the forces that are participating in the operation.
*Another success from this year was aiding in Ghana's counter-piracy efforts. USNS Spearhead worked in conjunction with the African Western Naval Command MOC to locate, identify and hand off a vessel that was taken over by pirates and transiting the Ghanaian exclusive economic zone.
*Maritime law enforcement violations are cited for operating in a restricted area.
*The combined law enforcement detachment was comprised of U.S. Coastguard, the Marine Police Unit of the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Navy, and representatives from Ghana's Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.
*AMLEP is companion to and nested within the international collaborative capacity-building initiative Africa Partnership Station (APS). APS, like AMLEP, seeks to build maritime security capacity in order to increase maritime safety and security. prosecution so that African partners will benefit from revenue that comes from judicial processes.
*APS is the mechanism by which international maritime forces - the Global Network of Navies - share professional skills, knowledge and experience to enhance collective efforts to combat sea-borne illicit activity.
*Spearhead is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to support the international collaborative capacity-building program Africa Partnership Station.
*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.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.