From Alfred Adams, Takoradi.
THE Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) says it is unable to patrol Vessels on our territorial waters particularly at the Ports because it has no patrol boat to do so.
As a result, it is unable to effectively checkmate Vessels that engage in illegalities on our waters -such as oil spillage, bunkering and discharging ballad water.
The Director General of GMA, Rev. Peter Azumah, who disclosed this to the press when the sector Minister for Transport paid a familiarization visit to the office of the Authority added: “We need to do regular patrol to see whether there is oil spillage. It is part of our job but we don’t have patrol boat to do so’.
The GMA Director, therefore, appealed to the sector Minister, Kweku Ofori Asiamah to help the Authority secure and acquire its own patrol boat, in order to effectively police the waters of Ghana, particularly at the Ports.
Throwing more light on the patrol boat later in an interview with The Chronicle, the GMA Director pointed out that the request put forward by the Authority did not in any way suggest that the latter have not been patrolling our waters.
According to him, the Authority does patrol the waters but not as effectively as having its own patrol boat.
Underscoring why it was important for the GMA to have its own patrol boat, the GMA Director pointed out that the work of GMA mandates it to own a patrol boat, considering the real technical work it does.
He said though the GMA has been patrolling our waters with the aid of patrol boat from Tullow Ghana, ‘what we are saying is that we need our own patrol boat to decide when we want to patrol. Somebody is lifting you up and down -how are you going to police him.
“You understand what I mean? he asked this reporter.
By GMA having its own patrol boat, any vessel according to the GMA Director which has the intent to conduct an illegality like discharging ballad water or oil spillage on our waters would be discovered and arrested.
Answering a question from this reporter as to what would change when GMA is provided with patrol boat, Director General Amuzu answered that they would improve on the way shipping lines are being controlled and directed in terms of navigational purposes.
By that, there would not be collision which would further enhance proper shipping routing.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Transport has directed the management of GMA office in Takoradi to come out with a proposal for the construction of a new office complex that befits the status of the Authority.