Ghana’s maritime domain security is set to receive a major boost as the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) is implementing a Vessel Traffic Management and Information System (VTMIS) to improve safety and security on the country’s waters.
The VTMIS project, a state-of-the-art monitoring and surveillance electronic system touted as one of the best in the world, will ensure effective management of the nation’s maritime sphere, the protection of maritime resources as well as Ghana’s fledgling oil resources and infrastructure.
Mr Peter Azuma, Director-General of the GMA, said this when he briefed the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport on the state of preparedness of the country to manage its maritime wealth.
The Committee has been visiting institutions in the road and transport sectors to acquaint itself with the working and challenges of those sectors.
Mr Azuma told the Committee that the system, which can track vessels 1,000 nautical miles from the country’s shores, will give relevant authorities with real time situational information on the goings-on in the maritime domain.
He said with the installation of the system, unlawful maritime activities such as piracy, armed robbery at sea, illegal and unregulated fishing, drug and human trafficking as well as unauthorized movements within Ghanaian waters would be deterred.
The VTMIS would also ensure the protection of Ghana’s oil infrastructure including off-shore installations, oil terminals, and gas pipelines among others.
The system will improve security and safety of navigation and environmental protection in relation to ship source pollution.
Mr Azuma said apart from the platform enhancing the protection of fish spawning and feeding grounds by continuous monitoring, Ghana will now be able to participate fully in the Global ship reporting system as mandated by International Maritime Organisation.
He said the system would also improve coordination in maritime search and rescue and enable Ghana to fulfill her commitment under the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue.
The VTMIS, which cost some 17 million dollars to install, has four control centres, eight remote sensor sites along the coast of Ghana and three remote base stations on the Volta Lake. The system is due for inauguration soon.