The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has donated over eight thousand pieces of harvested tree stumps to some communities along the Volta Lake as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Known to have been submerged in the lake for more than half a century, the harvested wood are considered one of the most expensive and highly sought after in the wood processing industry.
A statement by the GMA said: “The GMA is mandated to ensure safety of navigation both at sea and the inland waterways. In an effort to perform this mandate, the GMA contracted Kete Krachi Timber Recovery Ltd (KKTR) to harvest the tree stumps to make the lake navigable and curb rampant boat accidents along the channel crossings between Yeji- Makango and Yeji-Awujakope.
“Beneficiary communities include Yeji, Awidzakope Awuja-kope in the Bono East region and Makango in the Savanna region. The harvested tree stumps are said to be valued at millions of Ghana Cedis.”
Receiving the wood on behalf of the people of Yeji, Nana Siahene Mprekukigyi II, Gyasihene of Yeji expressed his gratitude to the GMA and the government for creating a safe channel on the lake for navigation.
He, however, cautioned the boat owners and operators to avoid over speeding and overloading as well as observe safety precautions. ‘We used to encounter a lot of boat accidents at this time of the year but thanks to the Ghana Maritime Authority, we have not had any unfortunate incident in the area yet’, he added.
Boat accidents on the lake claimed thirty-one (31) lives in 2016, with a total of one hundred and thirty-five reported cases of injury. A total of thirteen (13) passengers died leaving twenty-six (26) people with various degrees of injuries in 2017. Two boat accidents were recorded in 2018 which saw eleven deaths and leaving fifty-three (53) injured. With the removal of the tree stumps, the GMA is on the verge of proclaiming a –zero-boat-accident on the lake.
Speaking on behalf of the Director-General of the Authority after the donation, Deputy Director in charge of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr. Richard Lartey, said it was important that the wood be given back to the communities because it belongs to them.
"These are expensive wood and every business person would have sold it for personal gains but the Authority deems it fit to give it back to the communities in the catchment area".
According to Dr. Lartey, the Ghana Maritime Authority will continue to play it’s role in making sure that the Volta Lake is navigable and safe for all boat operators and other users to ply their trade.
The GMA was established by of the Ghana Maritime Authority Act 2002, (Act 630) to regulate, monitor and coordinate activities of the sea and ensure safety of navigation.