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General News Fri, 22 May 2009

Maritime academy to purchase patrol boats for Volta Lake

Accra, May 22, GNA - The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) on Friday said the authority would purchase three patrol boats to control operations and practices of overloading and drunkenness by operators on the Volta Lake.

The authority is also going to construct passengers' reception facilities at major boat loading and landing stations on the Lake as well as put up jetties and suitable landing facilities for berthing of vessels.

Mr Isaaka Peter Azumah, Director-General of GMA, made this known when the Minister of Transport Mr Mike Hammah, his deputy Mrs Dzifa Ativor and officials of the ministry toured the offices of the GMA in Accra. The tour was to afford the Minister to learn about challenges facing the GMA, map out for the way forward and share with management and staff the government's vision of Ghana becoming a middle income country by 2020.

The GMA, which was established in 2002 by Act 630, is charged the responsibility of regulating activities of maritime as well as ensuring safety and security in the country's maritime environment, among others. Mr Azumah said the GMA has been registering and training boat operators adding that six boat centres along the Volta Lake had benefited with 872 persons going through their programmes. According to him through the establishment of a Labour Task Force by the Authority, there had been a reduction in the spate of accidents on the Volta Lake, adding since 2007, no accidents had been recorded. Mr Azumah said the GMA was poised to overcome its challenges and called on government to provide the authority with adequate funds to recruit 50 more technical staff.

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He said the GMA was currently waiting for the passage of Marine Pollution Bill to regulate activities on inland water ways. The Director-General asked government to also assist them with logistics such as patrol boats and security equipment to ensure the smooth operations of the Authority.

Mr Hammah said transportation played a key role in the activities of the country gateway activities.

He therefore urged staff and management to be proactive so as to boost investors' confidence in their operations. Mr Hammah also tasked the GMA to ensure that the youth benefited from their training programmes so as secure employment as Ghana entered the oil business. "For the youth to be employed they need to be equipped with the basic training in maritime programmes," he said.

Source: GNA
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