The Ghana Navy’s Western Naval Command has asked the government to equip it with the requisite tools to enable it to combat activities of criminal groups on the sea.
Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Commodore Isaac Osei Kuffuor said the failure to safeguard Ghana’s sea power will not only be irresponsible but constitute a criminal negligence.
Speaking at a ceremony to welcome Vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to the Western Region Thursday, he said the threat posed to the country’s territorial sea by activities of oil smugglers has to be addressed.
Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Commodore Isaac Osei Kuffuor
Ghana is estimated to lose GHS1billion to activities of criminal groups who smuggle petroleum products to neighbouring countries.
Some of the people involved in the illegal bunkering are reportedly connected to a wide network made up of Ghanaians and foreign nationals.
The lucrative nature of the business has compelled some fishermen to abandon their work for the illegal activities, Joy News’ Latif Iddrisu who accompanied the Vice president reported.
But the Western and Eastern Commands of the Ghana Navy rose to the occasion leading to the arrest of some of the criminals engaged in the smuggling.
Some of the canoes used to smuggle oil
In order to effectively stamp out the criminal activities from the country’s sea, the Navy has asked for more resources to enable it to undertake its constitutional duties.
Describing the challenge faced by the Command, Commodore Kuffuor said for every arrest made by the Naval team on the sea at least nine or ten of the criminals escape.
“It is the navy which can protect Ghana’s sea by being present constantly,” he said.
The FOC said the Naval intelligence is analyzing and interpreting the activities of the criminal groups in order to find the best way to handle it.
Vice president Dr Bawumia at a parade
“Our presence is enough deterrence,” Commodore Kuffuor said but added the Western Naval Command will need resources to do that.
Vice President Dr Bawumia’s visit to the Region has become necessary because of the increasing operation of the criminal groups there.