Accra March, 30, GNA - Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries, on Wednesday said there was the need to develop a vibrant fishing industry in Ghana to meet the fish requirements of the country. She said: " The President realized that the fishing industry was lagging, that is why he created the Ministry to help develop the industry in the country as agriculture was concentrated on crop and animal farming."
Mrs Asmah made the observation when she visited the PSC Tema Shipyard to know at first hand the extent of damage caused during the fire out break on Good Friday.
Fifteen people perished in the fire that devastated the vessel and important facilities like the TOR pumping station and pipeline, VALCO pumping house, VRA pumping house as well as some private companies nearby.
A Togolese registered vessel, MV Polaris, owned by a Greek, which had been undergoing maintenance work for three months at the Shipyard caught fire. Firemen have retrieved 15 bodies.
Sparks from welding works on the vessel allegedly caused the fire upon contact with oil slick from the TOR pipeline.
The Minister visited the National Fisheries Association Ghana, the PSC Tema Shipyard and the Fish Market Hall where the traders requested for a radio set and a ceiling fan to enable them to have some level of comfort in the affected offices.
Mrs Asmah said the Government would act on the report of the Committee set up to investigate the accident and cautioned workers to learn from the mistakes and guard against recurrence. Mr Kwesi Kwakwa, General Manager of the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority, said it was unfortunate that the accident happened during routine maintenance of a vessel.
Mr Joseph Kudjordzi, Managing Director of Dolphin Shipping Company, who spoke on behalf people whose offices were affected by the fire, said the fishing and shipping industry had not been doing well and called on the Government to help industries operate efficiently. Mr Kudjordzi said: "We need assistance from the Government to enable us continue with our work and maintain our workers. He, however, commended the Government for the establishment of the Fisheries Ministry.