The GPHA Security together with the Police Patrol Unit in Tema Port have intercepted an illegal exchange of fuel on the Ghanaian Waters near the Tema Port.
While performing their routine inspections, the Patrol team comprising of GPHA security and Marine Police came across three men offloading gallons of fuel reported to have been transported from the high seas for sale.
According to the Port Security Manager of Tema Port, Lt. Col. Joseph Punamane, the natives connive with some ship owners to siphon sludge fuel into gallons and bring to shore for the local market.
He said firstly, the act is dangerous as it is prone to polluting Ghana’s water bodies. And also, such unauthorized, discreet methods of trade, deprives the country of revenue.
“They go in there conniving with some of the ships on the high seas and collect some of the sludge oil into small boats and canoes and bring them offshore to go and sell and by so doing the government is losing revenue,” he said.
The Security Manager informed that, there are existing licensing procedures that enable local companies to properly take receipt of sludge fuel and advised that those interested in that business should go through that process of trading.
He stated that the culprits would pay a fine to GPHA and be handed over to the Police to face prosecution.
“After they have paid that penalty, we will hand them over to the police and they would also conclude the investigations,” he added.
Detective Inspector Donkor of the Marine Police Unit, Tema said the supply vessel had already taken leave by the time they could contact it. However, the local culprits would go through court proceedings for the appropriate sanctioning to deter potential offenders.
The joint security team comprising the Ports Security and the Marine Police however solicited support from stakeholders to play a role to combat such illegal activities and marine crimes on the Ghanaian waters which includes illegal ship to ship bunkering, piracy, and stowaway and so on.