Business News of 2014-06-21

‘GPHA has capacity to deal with piracy’

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has pledged to work hard to ensure that the country does not experience piracy, which is gradually becoming pervasive along the West African coast.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Tema last Thursday, the acting General Manager of Business Development at the GPHA, Mrs Alice Torkornoo, gave the assurance that the authority had the capacity to deal with the situation.

Among other things, she said the authority had installed an Automatic Identification System (AIS), which could help to monitor the movement of vessels along the coast. Mrs Torkornoo said adequate security had been put in place, while the Ghana Navy was also on regular patrols.

Rate of piracy

She recounted three incidents that had occurred in neighbouring waters in which two tankers and one fishing vessel were robbed by pirates between June 4 and June 11, 2014. Mrs Torkornoo said the first was the missing tanker, MT Fair Artemis, which was hijacked after bunkering at the offshore bunkering facility of the GPHA in Tema.

According to Mrs Torkornoo, the pirates hijacked the vessel as it drifted 53 nautical miles into Togolese waters with 3,500 metric tonnes of oil in it. She said the pirates took over and escorted it to Nigerian waters where they transferred the cargo into their vessel and abandoned the MT Fair Artemis on Ghanaian waters.

The other two piracy incidents involved a Ghanaian registered fishing vessel, Marine 711, which was hijacked on its way from Nigeria towards Togo and a South African flagged tanker, MT Sam Pattiki, which was also hijacked while it was moving from Nigeria to Togo to bunker.

Ghanaian waters

Mrs Torkornoo said none of the piracies occurred in Ghanaian waters, and was emphatic that with the adequate security measures that had been instituted and the monitoring gadgets that had been installed, pirates would not be able to escape if they ventured into Ghanaian waters.

Mrs Torkonoo said the MT Fair Artemis was currently at anchorage at the Tema Harbour putting together support services to sail.