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21.09.2004 General News

Government urged to stem boat accidents along Volta Lake

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Aflao, Sept. 21, GNA - Government has been tasked to help develop a viable private commercial river transportation system, to stem the number of boat accidents and the loss of lives and property especially on the Volta lake.

Mr Oscar Gbor Ahadzi, a Senior Field Researcher, with the Accra-based JECCA Consult, researching into disasters on the lake, as part of the Volta Lake Research Project, was speaking to the Ghana News Agency, in an interview at Aflao.

"Our concern as a country on how to end the frequent boat accidents, which continues to claim many lives and billions of cedis in property loss annually, along the Volta Lake... has rather been discouraging," he said.

Mr Ahadzi blamed the situation on the country's inability to draw rules and regulations on the commercial outboard motor-operated boat transport system, which remains the only mode of transportation for island communities.

He said, the Volta River Development Act 46, sub-section 33 of 1961, and Power Investment 862 of 1973, empowering the Volta River Authority (VRA) to regulate ferry activities on the lake were full of omissions.

Mr Ahadzi said the laws did not consider the operations of small private commercial boats, to ensure that operators provide passengers with life jackets stick to loading capacities and other safety determinants.

He expressed the need to equip the boats with communication gadgets to facilitate distress calls and the formation of rescue teams in communities along the Volta Lake.