The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) continues to demonstrate its commitment to international exercises intended to create an environmentally safe and secure marine environment.
This commitment has once again been demonstrated in the Authority’s participation in the 2023 edition of Obangame Express, a multinational maritime exercise in the Gulf of Guinea between January and February.
The recent exercise, done on a smaller scale, saw GPHA’s marine operations unit liaise with the Ghana Navy in an oil spill response drill.
Speaking to Eye on Port, the Harbour Master at the Tema Port, Captain Micah, explained that the scenario played out emulated that of a Level 1 oil spill involving a simulated illegal bunkering operation.
He said, “initially it required that port control be alerted for the working frequency to be established, thereafter we had to deploy one of our tugs, Ben Owusu Mensah which has all the capabilities of handling a spill of that nature. The Ghana Navy was there to cordon off the place to prevent the inflow of traffic around the area of operation. Thereon we deployed the booms which are designed to contain the oil from spreading. After they used the skimmers to gather all the oil settled at the surface of the water into the holding tanks of the tugs and after that we use the dispersants.”
All of these operations he said was done with permission from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Obangame Express focuses on increased regional cooperation in maritime safety and security. This year’s edition was designed to involve stakeholders in Ghana’s maritime industry to ensure interoperability between maritime partners and cooperation at sea.
It can be recalled that last year, GPHA participated in a similar drill under the Obangame Express project.