A prominent dock worker at the Tema Port, Mr. Kofi Mensah, has admonished against dragging President Akufo-Addo in an agenda to make the Harbour Master at the Tema Port a fall guy.
“I am a dock worker and it is a well-known fact that the MPS deal, which we believe is not in the interest of Ghana and has taken a toll on the finances of our mother company, the GPHA, and we all want that to change. However, I will not subscribe to a deliberate attempts to make an innocent person, the scape-goat for our troubles,” Mr. Mensah said.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview on the alleged accusation of the President after a News Conference, Mr. Mensah said that claims that the Harbour Master was in bed with the Meridian Ports Services (MPS) and that he was the reason that the GPHA was not attracting ships to its terminal was untrue.
According to him, a groundswell clamour for President Akufo-Addo to have the GPHA remove the Harbour Master from office therefore was unfortunate.
According to him, “to say that ships are not coming to dock at the GPHA's side of the port, but going to the MPS side because the Harbour Master has been diverting them there, is unfortunate. To clamour for President Akufo-Addo to remove the Harbour Master based on this misconception is even worse.”
Mr. Mensah said the allegations emerging amidst demonstrations by GPHA workers against the MPS' failure to cede 20 per cent of containerized cargo to the GPHA, “needs to be stopped in its tracks.”
He pointed out that the destination of a ship was determined long before it sets sail and not by the Harbour Master of the Port that it berths at.
GPHA workers are up in arms after negotiations for MPS to cede 20 per cent of containerized cargo to the GPHA failed to fall through.
It would be recalled that MPS contract to build Terminal 3 and then manage the terminal to offset its investment was a source of disagreement between GPHA and the MPS.
The latest in the disagreement was a demonstration that GPHA workers were holding after another round of negotiation with MPS in Dubai failed to yield the desired compromise.
While the demonstration was going on, allegations emerged that the ships that docked at MPS' Terminal 3 did not go to the GPHA's side of the Port because the Harbour Master, Capt. Christian Yeboah Asante, was deliberately re-directing incoming vessels to the side of the MPS.
The clamour is for President Akufo-Addo to order the GPHA to remove the Harbour Master from office.
“But it is not true that the Harbour Master is the reason why GPHA is not getting vessels and therefore business; in this industry, it is the Principal or the owner of the ship who determines which Port his or her ships should dock and not the Shipping Master,” Mr. Mensah said.
Mr. Mensah's point has been confirmed by an agent of one of the shipping lines who said that the final destination was determined and negotiated long before the ship would even take off.
“The Principal is abroad and deals with top management of the various companies involved. The Harbour Master only receives instructions that are pre- determined and he follows them,” the agent said.