14.11.2007 General News

Safety on Volta lake improves

By Daily Graphic
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The number of passengers and cargo on the Volta Lake continues to grow at Tepa Abotoase following safety measures introduced this year to ensure accident free passage for boats and canoes.

A trip to Abotoase by the Daily Graphic over the weekend also showed an improvement in the way passengers and cargo were loaded onto the boats on the lake.

In an interview, the Commander of the Naval Ratings, Chief Petty Officer I W.A.Y. Abodakpi, expressed satisfaction that there was peace and safety on the boat.

He is there with four others.

According to him, one important thing he would not compromise on was the maintenance of the outboard motors, stressing that as soon as a boat arrived on shore, the operator was made to take the machine to the mechanic for testing and the necessary maintenance works.

"We also ensure that the boat loads the correct number of passengers." CPO Abodakpi said.

As a result of the safety measures instituted by the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) on the lake, no accident has been recorded this year at Abotoase, which is in the Jasikan District in the Volta Region.

The measures were instituted to stem the massive loss of lives and property on the lake through accidents.

They include the stationing of Naval ratings at Abotoase to control the loading and the general maintenance of outboard motors. Other stations where the ratings can be located are Yeji, Krachi and Dzemeni.

Before the measures, there had been a total casualty of 340 on the Volta Lake, with Abotoase accounting for 250 of them. Man-made factors were the greatest causes of the accidents.

The lake is the only means of transportation between the mainland and the various communities at the overbank. It connects traders and travellers from the Eastern, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions to Abotoase, a terminal point to various locations.

Some of the disasters were caused by overloading, obstruction by tree stumps and fishing nets, poor design of the boats, lack of safety equipment, incompetent operators and mechanics and lack of navigation and communication equipment.

But with the arrival of the Naval ratings in March this year, many of these causal agents have been attended to.

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