A Fisheries observer of the Fisheries Commission, Emmanuel Essien, is reported missing on board a Ghanaian registered fishing vessel, MV Meng Xin 15, during a fishing expedition in the Takoradi seas in the Western Region on July 5, this year.
Consequently, the Tema Marine, Railways and Port Police (MRP) is investigating the circumstances under which the 29-year-old got missing on board the vessel that left the Tema port for fishing vessel duties with 26 crew members of 20 Ghanaians and six Chinese officers July 5.
The Crime officer of the MRP, Superintendent (Supt) Felix Asare who disclosed this to the Ghanaian Times here yesterday said that at about 8 am, the Boatswain (Supervisor on board the vessel), Mr Amos Jackson, discovered that Essien, was not on board when he checked the crew that morning.
He said all efforts by the crew to locate his whereabouts on board proved futile on July 6, the following day, thus compelling the vessel to abandon the fishing expedition and return to the Tema port.
T he Crime Officer of the MRP, said the Fisheries Commission in line with the Fisheries Act, 2002 (ACT 625) is mandated to deploy a trained officer each on all the 74 industrial fleets in Ghana to collect catch and efforts data, samples of fish for scientific purposes and report violations of the fisheries act and regulations to the authorities.
This, according to him, was in conformity with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, this was the first time that such fate has befallen a Fisheries observer.
Supt Asare said upon arrival at the Tema Port, all the crew members on board the vessel were invited for interrogation and statements taken from them by the Police who had been deployed at the port to await their arrival.
According to him, K-9 Security Services, a private security firm even brought in sniffer dogs as part of the search while the Fisheries Commission and the Ghana Maritime Authority conducted similar exercises in line with their mandates.
FROM GODFRED BLAY GIBBAH, TEMA