Threat to our environment – Ghana Maritime Authority warns
Accra Saturday November 5 2011 :There is the possibility of the country experiencing more oil spillage on its coastline due to the absence of an offshore vessel monitoring system and appropriate laws to sanction offenders, the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has warned.
According to the source at the GMA, with the absence of the equipment Vessel Traffic Monitoring Information System (VTMIS) which could record second by second activities of vessel calling at the country’s port or passing through the country’s territorial waters, the practice would remain attractive to the vessels which found dumping cheaper, if not caught, than legal disposal.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, following last Thursday ‘s spillage of oil along the coast of the Ahanta West District, the source said with the rise in the vessel traffic at the country’ port and the supply services to the support the country’s offshore oil and gas operations, the VTMIS was crucial and should be procured immediately to save the country’s coastline.
It said due to the absence of the VTMIS and the appropriate laws, a vessel, Spirit River, which dumped toxic waste at Essipon early this year, was made to pay only $28,000 in penalties. That aside, there are several to the spills which form star balls that polluted the beaches of Jomoro and Elllembelle in the Nzema area, the source said.
Concerning last Thursday’s spillage, the source said tour operator and members of the communities provided very important by collecting samples and writing down the time they first swa the oil pollutants heading to the shore.
“But without the VTMIS, it would be difficult to get the particular vessel since the equipment could have provided satellite imagery to enable the authorities to grab the offending vessel , it said”
When the Daily Graphic got to the scene yesterday morning, the high currents had swept the oil pollutants back into the sea with several dents still at the shore.
Some tour operators who were expecting revelers this weekend were cleaning up the dents to ensure a clean environment for their customers.