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09.09.2002 Health

Health Ministry Declares War on Port Rats

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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THE GHANA PORTS and Harbours Authority (GPHA), in conjunction with the Port Health Division of the Ministry of Health (MoH), last week embarked on an exercise to smoke out unfriendly creatures from the Tema Port. These creatures, mainly rodents, are considered harmful to marine activities and can cause electrical accidents and food poisoning.

The GPHA as a result spent ¢14 million in procurement of chemicals to de-rat the port of Tema. Areas where the exercise was mainly carried included the cocoa and terminal sheds, Valco and Oil berths and other sensitive installations. The Director of Port, Tema, Mr. Gordwin Anim, in an interview, said that de-ratting ports is an international requirement to create a safe place for cargoes and vessels.

The superintendent in-charge of Port Health at the Tema Port, Mr. Steven Sakah, who led the health team during the exercise that took place between the 27th of July and August ending, said it is mandatory that ports are de-ratted every six months. The GPHA however decided to undertake the exercise every three months. He said that the rodents usually destroy tiny cables in electrical circuits and can be poisonous to food items, such as rice and sugar.

According to Mr. Saka, during the recent exercise, some vessels belonging to the Global Group of Companies, namely Commanche, Navajo, and Cheyenne, were also covered. He appealed to owners of vessels to allow de-ratting exercise to take place to save their vessels from rats and mice. Our investigation revealed that de-ratting of the fishing harbour had been given on contract.

Observers believed that the state institution, MoH, could have been allowed to undertake it as they duly did to the main port. In a related development, Port Health is to lead a team to destroy a 40-footer container of canned coke shipped by Scanship.

Our sources at the port hinted that the coke had gone bad and is awaiting cooperation from the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) to destroy them at the Kpone Gravel Pit. The sources further hinted that the Pioneer Food Cannery (PFC) is getting ready to destroy about 2,000 cartons of canned tuna which was discovered unwholesome in the process of production.

A few months ago, the Port Health Division led the CEPS, Police and National Security to destroy unwholesome chicken parts at Kpone, followed by the destruction of 1,500 cartons of canned tuna by PFC. Just after that, a cold store was sealed when the health officials detected that fish stored in it, belonging to Gold Fish Ltd. was unwholesome. After challenging the MoH report, the owners requested further clarification from the Ghana Standards Board (GSB). The health officials stood their ground and after GSB ordered for its destruction permitted its use as fish meal.

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