Ghana prepares against crisis at sea

Inset: Mr Owusu addressing the participants

Inset: Mr Owusu addressing the participants

The National Maritime Security Committee (NMSC) has organised an exercise to determine Ghana’s readiness to deal with crisis at sea.

 

This follows one month of training by the Gulf of Guinea Inter Regional Network from the European Union, to improve Ghana’s capacity to handle crisis at sea.

 

The training brought together personnel of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the Navy, Air Force, Police Service, and the National Disaster Management Organisation.

 

The exercise dealt with the scenario where pirates attacked a vessel and embarked on bunkering to steal its oil for sale, but their vessel caught fire in the process, and the attack also resulted in the death of a crew member and injury to two others as well as an oil spill.

 

A maritime aircraft on routine patrol reported the incident to the NMSC, which triggered the crisis response team into action.

 

The exercise also helped to identify shortcomings so that adequate preparations and logistics could be assembled to deal with any occurrence at sea.

 

The Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Mr. Kwame Owusu, who is also the Chairman of NMSC, said it was important for the country to prepare well to be able to deal with piracy, oil spill, fire outbreak.

 

He said safe voyage in the Gulf of Guinea would guarantee sustainable maritime trade between countries in West Africa and other nations.

 

“Plans are far advanced to employ drones and satellite imagery to enhance performance of the committee and keep illicit activities from our waters,” Mr. Owusu said.

 

He gave the assurance that the country was ready to deal with accidents at sea, but cautioned seafarers to follow safety regulations to minimise accidents.

 

The permanent Expert Adviser at the Western Africa Maritime Security and Safety Regional Centre, Mr. Eric Glotin, said that future exercises would involve other countries in the Gulf of Guinea area.

FROM GODFRED BLAY GIBBAH, TEMA

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