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“Ghana has low capacity to clean–up oil spillage”

Ghana has found oil and is producing in commercial quantities, but has a weak system, in terms of capacity to clean-up when there is a major spillage, Mrs Azara Al-Hassan Prempeh, Deputy Director –Legal Bureau of the Ghana Maritime Authority has observed.

“As we speak, there is a shortfall in capacity when it comes to major incident,” she noted. Mrs Azara Al-Hassan Prempeh made this observation at a day’s seminar on the country’s Marine Pollution Bill, which is currently at the committee level of the country’s Parliament for consideration.

In attendance were members of Parliament, representatives of some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s), Civil Society Organisations, Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) as well as the Research Department of Parliament .

The participants were taken through two paper presentations; ‘Ghana’s Marine Pollution  Bill ,liabilities, Compensation, Enforcements  and challenges ‘ by Mrs  Azara Prempeh and ‘Ghana’s oil find and its potential Impacts on the Marine Environment’, by Mr. A.K. Armah from the Department  of Marine and Fisheries  Sciences, University of Ghana, Legon.

The event was organized by the Research Department of Parliament in collaboration with STAR Ghana under the theme-“Pollution Menace in the Oil industry-The Urgency of the Ghana’s Marine Pollution Bill.”

The event, according to its organizers, was born out of the thinking that inadequate and lack of  information on the Marine Pollution Bill will have a negative on members of Parliament  during deliberations, when the bill is introduced on the floor of the House.

Additionally , it was meant  to create a platform for information  and knowledge sharing between MP’s academia and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry.

The Maritime Pollution Bill seeks to provide the regulatory frame work for the prevention of pollution by oil, noxious liquid substances in bulk, harmful substances carried by sea in packaged from, sewage, garbage and air pollution from ships.

It also  gives contracting  parties the mandate to inspect  ships including  tankers and other supply vessels  to ensure that their operation are safe and will not pollute  the marine  environment.

The Bill also incorporates the provision of other conventions  including the United Nations Convention on the law of the  Sea , 1982(UNCLOS Part XII) dealing with the protection and preservation of the marine environment; 19996 protocol to the convention on the prevention of the marine pollution by dumping waste and other matter, International convention on the establishment of an international fund for compensation for oil pollution damage , 1992 and International convention on oil pollution preparedness, response   and co-operation 1990.

Commenting further, Mrs Al-Hassan Prempeh noted that though there was shortfall in capacity to clean  up in case of major  oil spillage , all was not lost since  the country  has some agreements with external third party agents  specialized  in marine pollution and other incidents  to come  to the aid of the local firm billed to do the job.

According to her, the country was currently conducting an exercise in all its various institutions, i.e. the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and other bodies to determine the kind of equipment that was available for a major clean-up in times of disaster.

Per the dictates of the bill and other regulations in the maritime industry, the polluter is responsible for the clean-up.

 

The Chronicle

 

 

 

 

 

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Reporting Oil and Gas project was launched on 4th June 2009atTakoradi, Western Region, Ghana by Penplusbytes (PPB – www.penplusbytes.org) with the vision of providing a one stop online information and knowledge about Ghana’s oil and gas sector
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