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18.11.2019 General News

Ministry To Probe Missing Fishing Observer

By News Desk
Ministry To Probe Missing Fishing Observer

Deputy Transport Minister has assured his outfit will liaise with the Fisheries Ministry to unravel the circumstances leading to the disappearance of a Ghanaian fishing observer.

Daniel Titus-Glover tells JoyNews it is unacceptable that five months after he went missing, very little is being done to find Emmanuel Essien.

The Tema East MP said he is very worried and can imagine the sleepless nights the family of Emmanuel Essien is going through.

“I cannot sit down for five months and watch on when there is no finality to this issue...this falls under the Fisheries Ministry so I have charged the Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority [to intervene].”

He explained that normally when fishing vessels need the authorisation to go to sea, they apply to the Fisheries Ministries for a license which will refer them to the Transport Ministry.

“We will then refer them to an agency under the Maritime Authority, but before that licence is given, they conduct some investigations to ascertain whether the vessel is sea ready and other information are sought.

Emmanuel Essien went missing from the trawler Meng Xin 15 on July 5, 2019.

He was a fishing observer, one of Ghana’s frontline defenders against an overfishing crisis that is among the worst in west Africa.

Essien was reported missing on 5 July, after failing to return to the cabin he shared with three Chinese crew – the chief officer, second chief officer and the cook. A police investigation found “ no signs of violence or anything incriminating ”.

According to The Guardian, Illegal and destructive practices by foreign-owned trawlers are draining the Ghanaian economy of an estimated £50m a year.

Along its 350-mile coastline, overfishing has driven small pelagic species known as “people’s fish”, the staple diet, to the verge of collapse.

The family of Emmanuel Essien, the missing Ghanaian attached to a Chinese vessel as an Observer, is accusing government and police of failing to help them locate their relative, five months since the case was reported.

“I don’t believe the government and the authorities valued the work my brother was doing,” a worried James, Emmanuel’s elder has told The Guardian.

He added: “If they did, they would attach some seriousness and urgency to the investigation. We know nothing. We don’t understand how it can take so long,”

Well, perhaps hope is on the horizon as the Deputy Transport Minister says he has invited the “Director General of the Maritime Authority to come over on Monday so we sit together and charge him to find out from the Fisheries Ministry what has been done.”

He said he would get to the bottom of the issue and find out if there has been any challenges.