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17.12.2002 General News

Concern Over Terrorist Threats to Maritime Industry

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IMO holds 'secret'diplomatic conference

The director of the Takoradi port, Mr. Nestor Galley, has observed that the possibility of terrorists using ships and containers for their nefarious activities after the famous September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre (WTO) in New York cannot be ruled out completely from the maritime industry.

He said because of this potential threat to vessels and ports worldwide by the terrorists, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is holding a diplomatic conference at a place he did not name to adopt a new convention on the security in the ports and also security of cargo containers carried on the vessels.

"This convention would be placing a lot of responsibility on the ports to ensure safety of ports and installations, container and container vessels so that they are not used as terrorist weapons," he said, and added that this would imply the installation and use of X-ray scanners and other sophisticated and expensive equipment in the ports.

Mr. Nestor Galley, an alumnus of the Kpando Secondary School, in the Volta Region, was speaking at the passing out ceremony of 45 port guards at the Second Battalion of Infantry in Takoradi last Friday.

The training was designed to develop in the guards the requisite qualities that would enable them to meet the tough demands of their job as security guards in the face of the pervasive pilferage, stowaways and other negative activities which militate against smooth operations at the Takoradi port.

According to the port director, a new Landlord Port Act will be passed by Parliament next year to make Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) a landlord and trade facilitator.

This, he continued, would imply that the GPHA would not be directly involved in the cargo handling operations.

He also hinted that his outfit has begun aggressive marketing activities in the Sahelian countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger and as a result of this and the reduction of tariffs charged, the Takoradi port has started handling some cargoes in transit to these countries.

Nestor Galley further said since it is their desire to keep these consignees using the port, it behooves his outfit to ensure that security was tight, the perimeter fences of the port are secured in an addition to the general security as it pertains in the other ports worldwide.

He therefore charged the guards to be on alert always and also make sure that they are not outsmarted by thieves, rogues and stowaways.

"We want to make the Takoradi port the safest and the best in terms of security, productivity and customer care.

We want to carve a special niche for ourselves and our success in this endeavour depends on all of us especially you the security men," he said. Meanwhile, the dredging of the Takoradi port, which was reported by the Chronicle, recently is going on steadily.

The dredging, when completed, would allow big vessels with long draft to berth at the port.

The port at the moment has an existing draft of 9.5 at the berth and 10.4 meters at the buoys.

This makes it impossible for big vessels with long draft to berth and discharge goods.

The ongoing dredging which forms part of the 250 million dollar that has been earmarked to transform the port has been estimated to cost over one million euros.

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