A vessel tracking device has been installed within the territorial waters of Ghana to provide surveillance on the movement of vessels and to detect hijacking or piracy.
The monitoring facility, which is in the form of a satellite system has been installed at Keta and Saltpond and is monitored in a control room of the headquarters of the Ghana Maritime Authority in Accra.
The Minister of Transport, Mrs Dzifa Aku Ativor who disclosed this to The Ghanaian Times yesterday on the sidelines of the 12th Board of Governors meeting of the Regional Maritime University in Accra said the move formed part of efforts to stamp out piracy, especially in the wake of the discovery of oil in Ghana.
“The facility is meant to monitor every activity within the maritime domain of the country”, she said.
Mrs Ativor said “similar facilities have been installed at, the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority and within the Ghana Armed Forces to respond swiftly to any eventuality.
Addressing the opening session of the meeting, the Minister described the activities of pirates as a serious threat which required a holistic approach by member countries to deal with.
She said the global maritime industry is confronted with challenges, particularly the activities of pirates in the Gulf of Aden which had caused considerable damage to International shipping, adding that it is important for countries in the sub-region to adopt strategies to combat it.
“The maritime areas of West and Central Africa have in recent times witnessed a steady increase in piracy, armed robbery and other illicit maritime activity”, she said.
Mrs. Ativor said while piracy activities in the Gulf of Aden had declined, the number of attacks reported in the Gulf of Guinea rose from30 in2011, to 34 in 2012.
Mrs. Ativor said the United Nations Security Council expressed deep concern about the threat that piracy and armed robbery posed in the Gulf of Guinea to the safety of seafarers, international navigation, security and the economic development of states in the region.
The escalation of the maritime activity in recent times, she said, had generated a number of initiatives aimed at suppressing such activities “but unfortunately, most of the initiatives have proved unsuccessful because they failed to include the broad spectrum of stakeholders needed to effectively address the issue.”
“It is against this background that I welcome the roadmap developed by the West and Central Africa Economic Communities to address the maritime security concern of the sub region,” she added.
The meeting, she said, had come at a time the African Union had chalked 50 and traced its roots to the vision of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who among others contributed to the AU and the establishment of the Nautical College, now Maritime University upon realising the importance of sea training and development in Africa
The Board Chairman of the University, Mr. Francis Liti Mboge, said the meeting was to provide an opportunity for member countries to become aware and informed of the affairs of the university and its mission.
The centre, he said, was established in 1958 to provide technical and professional maritime training in Ghana, adding that the vision, was moved to Cameroon, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia who have benefited tremendously in the training of its citizens.
Mr Mboge said the decision to extend similar facilities to member countries was relevant and demonstrated the foresight and magnanimity on the part of the government and people of Ghana.
Other speakers at the meting were the Secretary General of Transport of Cameroon, Messrs. Jean Pierre Soh, Commissioner of the Liberian Maritime Authority, Binyah Kesselly, the Minister of Transport and Aviation of Sierra Leone, Vandi Chidi Minah, and the Secretary General of Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa, Col. Mamadou Mariko.
Source: Ghanaian Times