Leadership of the Ghana Navy and the Marine and Railways Unit of the Ghana Police Service has assured the public of its continued service to safeguarding the port space and Ghana’s territorial waters.
Commodore James Kontoh, the Flag officer in charge of the Eastern Naval Command, and Chief Superintendent Joseph Ababio, the Commander of the Marine, Port and Railways Unit of the Ghana Police Service gave the assurance during a media interaction in Accra.
Commodore Kontoh said it was their mandate to ensure safety by monitoring, patrolling, and gathering intelligence through technical collaborations with other security agencies that operate within the marine space.
“Previously, every activity was just limited to the port and the anchorage area, which prevented us from seeing very far, so there is a huge drive to make sure that at least we are not completely sea blind”, he said.
“We maybe a little bit foggy but we should be able to see and go further. So, we are applying all means, in terms of both electronic and surveillance to make sure that we are able to police the sea”, he added.
Commodore Kontoh said there was a strong collaboration between the Ghana Navy and their counterparts of neighboring countries on the Gulf of Guinea, to combat the epidemic of piracy that has bedeviled the area.
“We are showing presence out there at sea, making sure that we have vessels which are on patrol. And like I said, we have electronic surveillance systems at our Maritime Operation Centers, which is able to give us a lot of information as to what is going on out there,” he stated.
“There is also a lot of collaboration with other stakeholders like the marine police and our neighboring countries. For instance, the Gulf of Guinea area has been divided into maritime zones, for us to easily share information pertaining to what is going on.” Commodore Kontoh added.
Touching on the menace of stowaway, Chief Superintendent Joseph Ababio said because it was a misdemeanor offence, it was difficult to apply stringent punishments that would be deterrent to other potential culprits.
“Unfortunately, the key factor is that the punishment ascribed to the people who commit such offences is very minimal, unless the law is changed. It is a misdemeanor. Now that we are all shifting towards harnessing a blue economy, certain offences that was committed at sea and within the ocean are been reviewed. As the new laws are being promulgated they would factor some of these offences into it,” he said.
Chief Superintendent Joseph Ababio said there was an increase in unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of the port environment to engage in the false sale of vehicles.
“It is almost becoming a daily occurrence, where people are using the cyber space to advertise for cars and auctions at the port. Cars are not auctioned or sold here in the port. Cars are sold at garages,” he said.
Chief Superintend Joseph Ababio said to deal with such activities, victims needed to volunteer information that would assist the police to arrest the culprits.
On trade facilitation, the Marine and Railways Unit Commander said the police had eliminated most of the barriers on the transit corridor to create a harassment-free corridor.