Tema Manhean, July 8,GNA - The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), has commissioned a business facility, valued at 860 million cedis, for fishermen of the Canoe Basin of the Harbour.
The facility comprises 120 stores; a meeting hall; first aid post, pre-mix fuel storage area and three fire hydrants. Mr Ben Owusu-Mensah, Director General of the GPHA, used the occasion to call on owners of laid up vessels, to clear them before the Port Authorities were compelled to do so.
He said the vessels have been turned into safe havens for criminals and also pose serious security threat to port facilities and operational vessels.
Mr Owusu-Mensah impressed upon all stakeholders to help clear the basin of the illegal operators.
"Failure to do this would seriously compromise the country's compliance to the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) code, and eventually collapsing all business in the Port to the detriment of the economy of the country."
He said the implementation of the ISPS code issued by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) brought to the fore the problems associated with laid-up vessels.
The implementation of the Code, which took effect on July 1, 2004, is to identify among other issues, maritime security threats like pilferage/thefts; illicit drug trafficking; smuggling; piracy; armed robbery on ships; trafficking of weapons/arms, sabotage and terrorism. Mr Edward Akita, Minister of State in charge of Fisheries, who commissioned the facility, noted that the disregard for internationally accepted practices in the fishing industry was adversely affecting the activities of small-scale fishers.
He said Government would formulate long term plans to develop the requisite landing site infrastructure to enhance fish production. Mr Akita announced that under the Agriculture Services Sector Investment Project (AGSSIP) some landing sites would be developed in conjunction with the beneficiary District Assemblies at Axim Mumford; Teshie; Winneba, Dzemeni and Abotoase.
Mr Samuel Evans Ashong Narh, Tema Municipal Chief Executive, said the Assembly would team up with the GPHA to provide waste management services at the basin.
The Canoe Basin was constructed in 1962 as part of the Tema Inner fishing Harbour project, which served as a fishing and landing beach to replace the old beach that was swallowed up during the construction of the main Tema Port.
In 1993 the Basin and the commercial area of the fishing Harbour were declared a Free Zone area.