The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has begun an exercise to clamp down on individuals and organisations said to be illegally developing mini ports, jetties and sea-front facilities for commercial purposes without recourse to the authority.
According to the authority, the development of facilities such as marina, jetty or berthing facilities without due process and the formal consent and approval of the GPHA constituted a breach of PNDC Law 160 of 1986, which makes the GPHA the sole state entity authorised to plan, build, develop, manage, operate and control port facilities.
In an interview in Tema last Friday, the acting Director-General (D-G) of the GPHA, Mr Paul Ansah Asare, said the authority had resolved to ensure the prosecution of some identifiable individuals and organisations said to be engaged in those illegalities.
He said the exercise followed a revelation that three companies were in the process of establishing mini ports, jetties and sea-front facilities in parts of the Volta and the Greater Accra regions.
A fishing company, Omanye Oceans Fisheries Limited, is said to be constructing a boat yard along the shores of the Volta River at Anyanui in the Volta Region.
The company, which has subsequently imported some 14 modern fishing crafts (boats), some of which have been put on the sea, has engaged the services of some 34 Chinese, made up of captains, engineers, cooks and interpreters, ahead of the official commencement of operations.
Land reclamation works have also been carried out in preparation of the construction of a fish processing factory and a cold store on six acres that will accommodate the company’s operations.
A cement manufacturer, Diamond Cement Limited, is also reported to be developing a jetty in the Volta Region to receive clinker imports for the production of cement at its factory in Aflao.
A private developer, LIB Limited, is also said to be constructing a facility at Bankuman, a suburb of Tema Newtown, to receive Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) imports to be sold to oil marketing companies for distribution to retail outlets.
When completed, it will be the first privately owned oil and gas jetty in the country.
Mr Asare said the GPHA had invited the owners of those facilities to submit their documents to the authority for scrutiny.
“You can’t just get up, identify your need, go to any shore line and put up a jetty there to say that you have a need for a port and so you have put up your own port to supply your cargo needs,” he said.
During a visit by a team comprising Daily Graphic reporters and security operatives to the Omanye Fisheries Company last Friday, it was observed that some workers of the company were carrying out maintenance works on some of its fishing crafts.
There are reports that the crew members of Omanye Fisheries have been spotted fishing within the coastlines, but an officer of the company, Mr John Lumor, told the fact-finding team that although the company had secured a temporary operating permit from the Keta Municipal Assembly, officials were awaiting permits from the Fisheries Commission and the Ministry of Fisheries to begin operations.
The Keta Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Seth Yormewu, who assumed office about a month ago, said although he had been informed about the facility, he had not sighted any documentation on the company’s request.
A planning officer at the assembly, Mr John Ntibery, however, told the team that the Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD), Mr Maxwell Dzimah, had issued a temporary business operating permit to the company when the fishing vessels were docked at the site in November 2016.
Mr Ntibery, who is said to have processed the permit application, however, could not provide the company’s file for reference when asked by the MCE.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Mr Joe Onyame, admitted that he did not know that he could not build and operate the facility without recourse to the GPHA, although he was in the process of acquiring a permit from the Ghana Maritime Authority.
He told the Daily Graphic in Tema that while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had done an environmental impact assessment on the project and issued a permit to that effect, the company was awaiting authorisation licences from the Fisheries Ministry before it could commence any fishing activities.