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Regional News Wed, 28 Nov 2007

Observe safety measures to protect Gas Pipeline - Captain Anim

Takoradi, Nov. 28, GNA - It is the collective responsibility of the people particularly those living in coastal communities and mariners to ensure that their activities do not infringe on safety measures put in place to protect the Offshore Gas Pipeline from damage. Captain Kofi Anim, Operations Officer of the Western Naval Command, said the Gas Pipeline was of vital interest to the country and acts such as the use of dynamite in fishing; bottom trawling by inshore fishing boats that could damage the pipeline and sheer sabotage attempts would not be countenanced.

He was speaking as a Government delegate at a forum organised by the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) on Offshore Gas Pipeline safety awareness at Takoradi recently.

Stakeholders including representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency; Navy; Volta River Authority; National Canoe Fishermen Association and Security personnel and Mariners were among the participants.

Captain Anim said the Navy was ready to give adequate protection to the pipelines to ensure that the country derived maximum benefit from the project in which Ghana had 16 per cent equity. He appealed for the provision of modern facilities and equipment to enhance the efficiency of the Navy. Mr Aderemi Oladapo, WAPCo General Manager in charge of Operations, said a recent incident in which the anchor of an unidentified ship seriously damaged part of the 600-kilometere pipelines at Cotonou, Benin, called for intensive awareness creation to enhance safety measures.

He revealed that apart from the colossal sum spent on the repair of the damage, it also caused the project to be delayed for three months. Among measures being adopted to avoid similar incidents are the publication of navigation chart to enable mariners to identification the exact position of the pipeline and organisation of safety awareness campaign with regional maritime authorities. WAPCo would check the practice of bottom trawling and anchoring within two miles from the pipelines and fishing by dynamite as part of measure to safeguard the pipelines. Mr Oladapo identified the mainline at Takoradi and the lateral pipeline at Tema that were in the vicinity of tanker offloading buoys as areas of greatest risk in Ghana. In the event of damage to gas pipelines, he said, this could destroy ships and property in the area with attendant loss of human lives and property. The 600 million dollar joint venture between the governments of Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Chevron and Shell is expected to be in full operation by early January 2008, Mr Oladapo said.

Source: GNA