ORDINANCE BASE RISKS ANOTHER EXPLOSION …as the authorities fail to implement recommendations after first incident
The Chronicle’s investigation has uncovered that 523 days after the Base Ammunition Depot (BAD) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) in Tema caught fire, and consequently discharged quite a number of ordnance into the surrounding areas there has been no action to implement the recommendations of the committee which investigated the accident.
The paper can say that after the 16th January 2019 early hours near disaster, the investigators made recommendations for the renovation of the existing ammunition depot as a temporary measure to forestall any future calamity.
Others include the installation of a central air-conditioning system, fitted with thermometers, to monitor the temperatures in the various ammunition storehouses, the installation of an underground silo-type to house the ordnance, mainly high trajectory missiles, to mitigate the devastating effects in case of an accident.
Also recommended is the putting up of two more ammunition depots in the Northern and Central Commands of the GAF, to reduce the quantity stored at the ammunition depot in Tema.
At that ungodly hour, a few minutes after midnight on January 16, 2019, it came out that the temperature related to heat triggered the fire from a laboratory, which was confined to a zone containing smaller explosives.
One of the flying objects, as though heading to a waiting container of artillery ordnance, fortunately jammed into a wall, and that averted a catastrophe
Even though there was no human casualty, the thunderous vibrations, landings of shrapnel in neighbouring homes, and the pallet of smoke which billowed from the base, was enough warning that after all, the ammunition depot cannot be a ‘friend which you can depend on without taking safety precautions.’
Deep throat sources within the military high command, who continued to express concerns about the present location of the ammunition depot, told The Chronicle that it takes commitment on the part of a government to implement the recommendations, especially since it involves lot of capital.
It came out that the Depot has become ‘a deity’ being worshipped in military circles for divergent reasons, some being that it is located within flying circuit of aircraft coming to land at the nation’s premier international airport, and in the event of any accidental take off by a missile, it could bring a plane, which would spell doom for the country.
Earlier suggestions were for the construction of high embankments around the depot for any unplanned discharges not to target the densely populated immediate environs.
Prior to the siting of the installation in the sixties, the planners located it in a waterlogged zone provided by a stream, and since these ammunition needed cool temperatures at storage, it was considered the appropriate ‘home’, but soon encroachment on the land engulfed and threatened the facility, with supposed opinion leaders leading litigations and claiming that compensation was not paid for the land.
Around the depot are sprawling the communities of Tema and Ashaiman, hence, endangering human lives and the facility.