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25.07.2002 General News

GNPC in trouble over crew change

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The arrival of an oilrig in the country’s territorial waters at Takoradi over the weekend and issues relating to crew change is threatening to set the Rig Workers Association of Ghana (RWAG) on a collision course with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

The executive and 350-strong RWAG membership are accusing GNPC of acting in bad faith with regards to their right to be assigned crew change rights for the rig, OCEAN WHITTINGTON, which arrived in the country to begin drilling activities at the Tano Basin in the Western Region.

RWAG is contending that as the sole and legally recognized association of rig workers, affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), all issues regarding crew recruiting, payment and welfare of rig workers should have its input.

As this has been ignored by GNPC in the present circumstances in spite of the fact that the association made overtures to GNPC on the matter, RWAG led by its National Chairman, Captain H.A. Omang, engaged in running battles with some GNPC officials at the Sekondi Naval Base and GNPC’s Shore Base at Sekondi, in Western Ghana.

RWAG accused GNPC of collaboration with Tema-based private agency, Menergy to deprive them the opportunity of boarding the rig to work. Menergy is said to have used its connections to recruit crew for OCEAN WHITTINGON without recourse to RWAG.

RWAG has also called on the minister for Energy, Albert Kan-Dapaah, (MP) to investigate the circumstances under which an ex-staff of GNPC is alleged to have used GNPC permits to clear the rig on behalf of Menergy.

As at yesterday, GNPC, according to a report published by “The Independent” was said to have used its clout to outwit the RWAG membership who had kept vigil at Sekondi to prevent the crew change with crew hired by Menergy.

“Well-placed sources at the Energy Ministry told The Independent that when Hon. Kan-Dapaah received the petition of the RWAG executive on the matter somewhere last week, he made representations to GNPC to consider the request of the RWAG.”

However, GNPC is reported to have told the minister that Dana Oil, the company that has the concession in the Tano Basin refused on the ground that there is no clause in their agreement with GNPC compelling them to cede recruitment of crew for the rig to GNPC.

GNPC says it needs money to finance its operations and could have taken the crew change recruitment contract in collaboration with RWAG for mutual benefit.

Meanwhile, RWAG has served notice that it will channel its grievances to the highest authorities of the land to ensure that private business interests do not deprive its members of their livelihood under any circumstances.

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