The Naval Operations Department is arguably the nerve centre of the Ghana Navy. Basically, the Department is responsible for the efficient coordination of all naval operations and the participation of the Navy in joint service operations. The Department also liaises with civil authority and organizations in the areas of maritime safety and security and the provision of support in times of disaster.
With the discovery of oil in Ghana’s Exclusive Economic Zone, Ghana Navy’s preparedness to provide adequate security for the offshore oil and gas installations has become even crucial. The Navy has doubled its efforts to acquire new platforms and systems to monitor and intensify patrol of Ghana’s coast. The use of technology to monitor activities of vessels and other platforms at sea has also been embraced by the Ghana Navy and the Operations Department is responsible for the efficient running of the various Maritime Domain Awareness systems.
Ghana Navy’s roles are not limited to only operations of Ghana’s seas but also providing aid to civil authority. These authorities include the Ghana Maritime Authority, the Bui Power Authority, Ministry of Fisheries and Aqua Culture, Ghana National Petroleum Commission among many other oil and maritime institutions. In addition to undertaking daily patrols to combat crimes at sea, the Ghana Navy actively participates in international exercises and training with foreign navies and organizations to combat transnational crimes. The Operations Department ensures the Navy is always ready to participate in such exercises as necessary. In this regard, the Ghana Navy has been very active in the planning and execution of EXERCISE OBANGAME EXPRESS, EXERCISE NEMO among others. These are international exercises which bring together navies, regional bodies and international organizations to operate within a common maritime framework to fight transnational crimes.
The Ghana Navy Special Boat Squadron has also been established to improve the Navy’s operational capacity in fighting contemporary crimes such as maritime terrorism, piracy and theft. To ensure that the above mentioned tasks among many others are efficiently and effectively performed, the Operations Department is headed by the Director Naval Operations, currently Captain (Ghana Navy) Atiayao. He is responsible to the Chief of the Naval Staff for the efficient running of the Department. Presently, he is assisted at the Naval Headquarters by a Deputy and Assistant Directors Naval Operations.