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12.07.2005 General News

Three companies liable for Good Friday Fire - Govt


Accra, July 12, GNA - The Government has found three companies liable for the Good Friday fire outbreak at the PSC Tema Shipyard and Drydock and have been directed to pay compensation to various third parties affected by the fire.

Presenting a Government's White Paper on the incident in Accra on Tuesday, Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Minister of Ports, Harbours and Railways named the companies as Tema Oil Refinery; PSC Tema Shipyard and Drydock and Golden Europe Key (GEK) Company Limited Owners/Agents of the Vessel, MV Polaris.

"For the victims on MV Polaris, the Owners/Agents of the vessel, GEK Company Limited should be specifically held responsible to pay appropriate compensation to their respective estates," he said. Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi, who presented the White Paper at a press conference, said the Government accepted the findings of the Committee that was set up to investigate the issue, "that there were no facts or evidence found to establish any acts of sabotage".

On Good Friday, March 25 this year, there was a fire outbreak at the PSC Tema Shipyard and Drydock area when MV Polaris caught fire resulting in the loss of 18 lives and extensive damage to property valued at about 80 billion cedis.

A seven-member committee chaired Nana Owusu-Nsiah, Immediate Past Inspector - General of Police, was set up by the Government to investigate the incident and make appropriate recommendations.

Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi said companies that suffered damages as a result of the fire should take up the issues of liability and compensation with their respective insurance brokers/insurers. Owners and occupiers of Manna House and Kiku Building should claim compensation from the companies that have been found liable for the fire outbreak.

To ensure the safety of TOR's pipelines and seawater pump house, Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi called on the Company to review its policy of monitoring its pipelines particularly from the refinery to the Oil Jetty at the harbour.

He said there should be dedicated communication links like VHF Radio between TOR and other port users operating within the vicinity of TOR pipelines.

"TOR Management should take immediate steps to provide a scientific way of detecting/monitoring leakages on their pipelines between the refinery and the Oil Jetty by using sensors on the pipelines," he said. The Minister called on PSC Shipyard to clearly demarcate and mark hot works permit areas and to assign safety personnel to the site for every hot work schedules at all times including weekends and holidays. "Safety personnel, just as security personnel, should be in place for 24 hours a day," he said.

Prof. Ameyaw-Aumfi called on the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to exert its influence on all its tenants at the harbour to comply with safety and security measures.