Navy officers who are deployed to various places along the Black Volta River to check overloading on boats are fuming with anger.
The anger of the navy officers stems from the fact that central government has failed in providing them with basic logistics, resources and structures to aid them in their work.
They accused the Mahama administration of messing up the Ghana Navy, leaving it worse off than the current administration came to meet it.
They lamented that the navy was in a much deteriorating state, a situation, they said, was affecting their operations.
They revealed that the territorial waters patrol service speed boats for navy officers to check the moving of boats on the Black Volta River were unserviceable due to the non-availability of spare parts, resulting in worn-out of machines because of extensive use and over-aging.
Majority of navy officers at Torgor-Dzemeni, Akatey, Abotuase Kpando-Torkor, Buipe and Kete-Krachi who are to control boat disasters told Today that they cannot police the country’s territorial waters effectively because of unavailability of logistics.
They further revealed to Today that the state-of-the-art equipment accessories such as communication gadgets required for their work on waters were non-functional.
A recent visit by Today to Torgor-Dzemeni boats landing beach, a fishing community in the Kpeve District of the Volta Region, revealed the operational challenges of the navy officers deployed to the area.
Today observed that navy officers at Torgor-Dzemeni lacked adequate logistics to check overloading before boats take off to their various destinations.
The lack of logistics, Today gathered, was one of the contributing factors of the incessant boat accidents.
Some boat passengers who also spoke to Today on condition of anonymity lamented that lots of people from the fishing communities within the catchment areas of Torgor-Dzemeni have lost their lives through boats capsizing.
“We are also aware that these officers are expected to check the use of unapproved fishing gear on the lake but it is not being done, leading to over-fishing and collection of fish fingerlings.
“We know that this inefficiency is as result of lack of logistics for the navy officers to work,” the residents stated.
They also asked: “Are these navy officers well-resourced to carry out their mandate, and if no, can the government do the right thing to save lives and also help maintain food security in the Torgor-Dzemeni?”
In an interview with Today, opinion leaders in Torgor-Dzemeni also complained about the increasing rate of boat disasters on the Black Volta River and called for stringent enforcement of maritime regulations to help fight the needless boat disasters on the lake.
While admitting such disasters have a myriad of causes, they called on Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) to ensure that all maritime activities are conducted within the acceptable regulatory framework.
According to the opinion leaders, failure by residents to use life jackets anytime they board the boats was also another worrying practice that must be checked by the navy officers.
To this end, the opinion leaders underscored the need for public education on maritime regulations
Source: Today NewsPaper