Ghana Navy


Ghana Navy
Founded29 July 1959 
(62 years, 5 months)
Country Ghana
AllegianceConstitution of Ghana
BranchGAF Navy Military Branch
Part ofGAF – Ghana Armed Forces.png GAF; Ghanaian Ministry of Defence and GN Central Defence Headquarters
GN HQAccra, Greater Accra, Ghana
ColorsUltramarine, Iceberg and Blue-Gray    
EngagementsFirst Liberian Civil War
Chiefs of the Naval StaffRear Admiral Issah Yakubu
Naval Ensign 1957−1964
Naval Ensign of Ghana.svg
Naval Ensign 1964−1966Naval Ensign of Ghana (1964–1966).svg

The Ghana Navy (GN) is the naval warfare organizational military branch of the Ghanaian Armed Forces (GAF). The Ghanaian Navy, along with the Ghanaian Army (GA) and Ghanaian Air Force (GHF), make up the Ghanaian Armed Forces (GAF) which are controlled by the Ghanaian Ministry of Defence (MoD).


The nucleus of the Ghana Navy is the Gold Coast Naval Volunteer Force formed during World War II. It was established by the colonial British administration to conduct seaward patrols to ensure that the coastal waters of the colony were free from mines. Following Ghana's attainment of independent nationhood on 6 March 1957 from the UK, the country's military was reorganized and expanded to meet its new challenges. A new volunteer force was raised in June, 1959 with headquarters at Takoradi in the Western Region of Ghana. The men were drawn from the existing Gold Coast Regiment of Infantry. They were under the command of British Royal Navy officers on secondment. On 29 July 1959, the Ghana Navy was established by an Act of Parliament. The force had two divisions based at Takoradi and Accra respectively.[1] On 1 May 1962, the British Navy formed the Royal Navy Element of the British Joint Services Training Team, thus changing the nature of its relationship with the Ghana Navy. The first Chief of the Naval Staff was Captain D. A. Foreman, a retired British Naval Officer. He was granted a Presidential Commission as a Ghana naval officer in the rank of commodore.[2] In September 1961 Nkrumah terminated the employment of British officers in the armed forces: the first Ghanaian to become Chief of the Naval Staff was Rear Admiral David Anumle Hansen, who was transferred from the Ghana army to head the navy. On September 14 1990, the GNS Achimota was hit by NPFL artillery while on a fact-finding mission near Monrovia. As a result, 2 Ghanaian sailors and 3 Nigerian nurses were killed, and the Ghanaian Air Force retaliated with airstrikes.[3]


The Ghana Navy command structure consists of the Naval Headquarters at Burma Camp, Accra. There are three operational commands, the Western Naval Command at Sekondi, the Eastern Naval Command at Tema and The Naval Training Command at Nutekpor-Sogakope in the Volta Region.

Western Naval Command

Ghana Navy sailor a in rigid-hulled inflatable boat

The command comprises the following elements:[1]

  • HQ Western Naval Command
  • Ghana Navy Fleet
  • The Naval Dockyard Complex
  • Ghana Navy Stores Depot
  • Naval Base, Sekondi – West Command
  • The Naval Trade Training School

Eastern Naval Command

Members of the Ghanaian Navy learning maritime law-enforcement tactics

The command comprises the following elements:[1]

  • HQ Eastern Naval Command
  • Basic and Leadership Training School
  • Naval Base, Tema
  • Ghana Navy Band, Tema[4]


The navy is organized into the following departments.[1]

  • Operations
  • Administration
  • Training
  • Logistics (Supply)
  • Technical
  • Intelligence and
  • Research and Development


The Ghana Navy fulfills a broad range of roles. These include:[1]

  • The monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing activities
  • Maritime Presence in the West African Waters and Naval Support in the Region and Crises Areas when requested
  • Surveillance, Effective Patrol and Control of Ghana's Territorial Waters and Economic Zone
  • Evacuation operations of Ghanaian and other nationals from troubled spots
  • Fighting and checking criminal activities such as piracy/armed robbery at sea, smuggling of illicit drugs, stowaways and dissident activities
  • Disaster and humanitarian relief operations, search and rescue, and other mercy missions at sea
  • Assisting civil authorities such as the Ghana Police, the Volta River Authority, the Electoral Commission, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority

Current active naval vessels

Snake-class patrol vessels

46.8m patrol vessels ordered from China's Poly Technologies subsidiary of China Poly Group Corporation in 2011 and delivered to GN (Ghana Navy) in October 2011. The boats were commissioned 21 February 2012.[5]

 Name   Pennant   Builder   Launched   Commissioned   Status 
GNS Blika P34 Qingdao Qianjin Shipyard, China 1 April 2011? 21 Feb 2012 Active
GNS Garinga P35 Qingdao Qianjin Shipyard, China 1 April 2011? 21 Feb 2012 Active
GNS Chemle P36 Qingdao Qianjin Shipyard, China 1 April 2011? 21 Feb 2012 Active
GNS Ehwor P37 Qingdao Qianjin Shipyard, China 1 April 2011? 21 Feb 2012 Active

Balsam-class patrol ships

The patrol ship GNS Anzone (P30) with GNS Achimota (P28) in the Gulf of Guinea in October 2005.

U. S. Coast Guard vessels. After serving the USCG for 57 years, Woodrush was decommissioned on March 2, 2001, and sold to GN (Ghana Navy) to serve as GNS Anzone P30.

 Name   Pennant   Builder   Launched   Commissioned   Transferred   Status   ex 
GNS Anzone (~shark) P30 Marine Iron & Ship Builders 28 April 1944 22 September 1944 2001 Active USCGC Woodrush (WLB-407)
GNS Bonsu (~whale) P31 Marine Iron & Ship Builders 31 December 1943 26 July 1944 2001 Active USCGC Sweetbrier (WLB-405)

Chamsuri-class patrol boat

Republic of Korea Navy vessels. Chamsuri means 'Sea Dolphin'.

 Name   Pennant   Builder   Launched   Commissioned   Transferred   Status   ex 
GNS Stephen Otu P33 Korea Tacoma, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hanjin Heavy Industries July 1980 21 January 2011 Active PKM 237 US Navy 090906-N-0120R-068 A Philippine Navy patrol boat and an 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat operated by members of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) search for survivors Sept. 6, 2009.jpg

Albatros-class fast attack craft

German navy. Purchased in 2005 at $35 million for the two ships.

 Name   Pennant   Builder   Launched   Commissioned   Transferred   Status   ex 
GNS Sebo (~leopard) P27 Fr Lurssen Werft GmbH & Co 19 September 1979 2 May 1980 2010 Active
GNS Dzata (~lion) P31 Fr Lurssen Werft GmbH & Co 19 September 1979 4 December 1979 2010 Active

Warrior-class/Gepard-class fast attack craft

German navy S74 Nerz and S77 Dachs. Purchased at $37 million for the two ships.[6]

 Name   Pennant   Builder   Launched   Commissioned   Transferred   Status   ex 
GNS Yaa Asantewaa Fr Lurssen Werft GmbH & Co 14 July 1983 31 July 2012[7] Active
GNS Naa Gbewaa Fr Lurssen Werft GmbH & Co 22 March 1984 31 July 2012[7] Active

USCG Defender-class boat

USCG Defender-class boat

U. S. Coast Guard. In 2008, the Ghana Navy acquired three such boats from the US Navy. They were handed over to the GN Western Naval Command in Sekondi-Takoradi. On 13 March 2010, presented four additional boats.


  • GNS Achimota (P28)Flagship of the Ghana Navy. German built FPB 57-class patrol ship (Launched: 14 March 1979, commissioned: 27 March 1981)
  • GNS Yogaga (P29) – German-built FPB 57-class patrol ship (1979)
  • GNS David Hansen – Named after David Animle Hansen, first Ghanaian Chief of Staff of the Ghana Navy. A single 20 m-long ex-US Navy PB Mk III inshore patrol craft that was built in the 1970s and transferred to Ghana in 2001.
  • On 10 December 2010, the Ghana Navy received six new speedboats with complete accessories from Ghana Red Cross to facilitate its rescue mission in the country. The accessories included six Yamaha outboard motors, life jackets, life lines, first aid equipment and maintenance tools.

Past naval vessels

The initial fleet of the navy consisted of two Ham-class minesweepers, GNS Yogaga and GNS Afadzato. They were recommissioned on 31 October 1959. They were joined by four T43-class minesweepers from the Soviet Union between 1961 and 1964, three Komar-class missile boats between 1967 and 1970 and one more in 1980, and two Yurka-class minesweepers in 1981–82.[8] In 1965, a frigate was ordered by the government of President Nkrumah, intended to also serve as the presidential yacht. The warship was laid down by Yarrow Shipbuilders in Scotland under the name Black Star, but when Nkrumah was deposed in a coup in the following year, the project was cancelled. The ship was eventually bought by the Royal Navy, commissioned as HMS MERMAID, and then sold to Malaysia as the KD Hang Tuah.[9]

Future plans

The Ghanaian Defence Minister, Lieutenant General J. H. Smith, announced in June 2010 that over 10 ships would be acquired as part of a short-term plan to re-equip the navy, and defend Ghana's exclusive economic zone.

Rank structure


The GN officers in descending order of seniority:[10]

Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
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  • t
  • e
  • 15-Ghana Navy-ADM.svg 14-Ghana Navy-VADM.svg 13-Ghana Navy-RADM.svg 12-Ghana Navy-CDRE.svg British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-5.svg British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-4.svg British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-3.svg British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-2.svg British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-1b.svg
    Admiral Vice admiral Rear admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lieutenant commander Lieutenant Sub lieutenant


    The GN ratings in descending order of seniority:[10]

    Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
     Ghana Navy
    04.Ghana Navy-CPO.svg 03.Ghana Navy-PO1.svg 02.Ghana Navy-PO2.svg 01.Ghana Navy-LSM.svg No insignia No insignia
    Chief petty officer Petty officer first class Petty officer second class Leading seaman Able seaman Ordinary seaman


    1. ^ a b c d e "Historical Background of The Ghana Navy". Official website. Ghana Armed Forces. Archived from the original on 2007-08-27. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
    2. ^ S. Addoe, General History of Ghana Armed Forces: a reference volume, 2005, pp.466-7
    3. ^ Adebajo, Adeyeke (2002). Liberia's Civil War: Nigeria, ECOMOG, and Regional Security in West Africa. Lynne Rienner. p. 79. ISBN 9781588260529.
    4. ^ Addae, S. Kojo (2005). A Short History of Ghana Armed Forces. Ministry of Defence of Ghana Armed Forces. ISBN 978-9988-8335-1-0.
    5. ^ Navy to secure country's maritime boundaries.
    6. ^ Germany delivers two of its decommissioned FACs to the Armed Forces of Ghana Archived September 15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
    7. ^ a b Ghana navy takes delivery of two German fast attack craft, maritime security
    8. ^ "The Security Services" (PDF). National Reconciliation Commission Report Volume 4 Chapter 1. Ghana government. October 2004. pp. 3 & 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
    9. ^ Marriott, Leo (1990). Royal Navy Frigates since 1945, Second Edition. London: Ian Allan Ltd. p. 102. ISBN 0-7110-1915-0.
    10. ^ a b "Ghana – Republic of Ghana Navy". The International Encyclopedia of Uniform Insignia around the world. WORLD INSIGNIA COLLECTORS UNION. Retrieved 2007-06-11.

    External links

    • Official page
    • Ghana Navy uniform insignia
    • Media related to Ghana Navy at Wikimedia Commons