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29.07.2002 General News

Ports and Harbours Authority Strengthens Security

By Chronicle
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The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has taken stringent measures to protect property and cargo that land at its ports to safeguard the integrity of its services as well as assure clients of its ability to trade within them.

As part of the measures, GPHA has subjected its newly recruited security personnel to vigorous military training to acquire the requisite skills and inculcate discipline in them to face the challenges ahead.

Mr. Ben Owusu-Mensah, Director-General of the GHPA, announced last Friday when he addressed 200 security personnel of the GHPA at a passing out parade at the Army Recruit Training School (ARTS) at Shai Hills.

The personnel had completed four weeks training in foot drill, physical training, unarmed combat, communiciation skills, general security duties, first aid, leadership training and fire prevention/fighting.

The Director-General stated that security plays major role in port activities as the GPHA is being restructured in consonance with the desired vision of becoming a maritime hub and the most efficient one-stop port services centre in the West African sub-Region.

In order to achieve gains at the port and with the tragic September 11 terrorist attack in the USA in mind, Owusu-Mensah called for extra vigilance and alertness, which should be the ultimate and indispensable goal on the part to the security personnel.

"You need to be alert at all times to avoid being out smarted by criminals and thieves," he advised and cautioned that any security personnel found condoning and conniving with thieves will either be dismissed or prosecuted.

Owusu-Mensah indicated that ports and ships have been potential targets for criminals and now consideration also has to be given to the ships and their cargoes as potential terrorist weapons which call for grave concern and need to be tackled vigorously.

There is the need, therefore, to re-assess existing port security plans to address potential terrorist activities to rid the port of criminal activities for smooth operations.

He reminded them that the port also provides services to local and landlocked neighbours of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, which is an added responsibility of being conscious of safeguarding goods in order to win confidence, which makes it the gateway to West Africa sub-Region.

According to him the security guards will be subjected to frequent training courses to upgrade their knowledge to handle their jobs with tact. He was full of gratitude to the military peprsonnel who took the men through the training.

Five personnel were given awards for excelling in various fields with Mr. George Afari emerging the best all round trainee.

Others were Ms. Gifty Boi-Boi Boi, who placed first in academic studies, Mr. Jabbar Bentil in drill, the best female trainee award went to Madam Dora Appiayei while Mr. Abu Abossah received the best physical training award.

Present at the parade were Mr. Godwin Anin, Director of Tema Port and Mrs. Agnes Sikanartey, Tema Regional Police Commander and family members of the graduants.

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