Four out of the six boats being operated by the Marine Police Unit of the Ghana Police Service have been grounded due to lack of maintenance, barely nine months after the creation of the unit.
As a result, about 30 out of the 70 specially trained police officers of the unit are either idle or have been reassigned to general policing or bank guard duties.
According to some of the officers who spoke to the Daily Graphic, all the promises made to them prior to their training and commissioning into the service had not been fulfilled.
“Currently as we speak, the boats for Tema and Takoradi are not working due to lack of maintenance, because monies have not been provided for logistics to undertake the repairs,” they said.
At the Takoradi Port
The two boats assigned to the Western Region are currently anchored at the Takoradi Port, almost a month after the crafts started giving the operators problems.
The bottom of the boats have developed heavy seashell, which the operators fear could lead to perforation if not maintained now.
The engines of the boats, according to the operators, had become very slow and not in good shape for sea.
The police personnel said the boats were not handed over to them, though some of them were trained to effectively and efficiently handle their maintenance at the Takoradi Port or the naval dockyard in Sekondi.
“The problem is that the logistics for the maintenance works are to be provided for the trained technicians to carry out the work,” the officers said.
The Fisheries Commission confirmed that the Marine Police Unit was established as part of a fisheries law enforcement task force and that huge amounts of money had been allocated to the unit to support its operations.
However, the commission was surprised that the operations had been grounded due to lack of maintenance and urged the police to act quickly.
At the Marine School
When the Daily Graphic visited the Marine School at Aiyinase in the Ellembelle District, some of the police officers who pleaded anonymity said they were actually idling.
“We wake up in the morning and there is nothing for us to do; all we do is sit and go round the town and come back because our boats are not working,” they said.
Commissioner in charge
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the officer in charge of the Marine Police, Commissioner of Police Mr David Asante Appeatu, said it was not acceptable for the policemen attached to the Marine Unit to be deployed for bank guard and other duties.
He said an agreement would soon be reached with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to carry out maintenance services on the boats.
Asked why those who were trained to carry out maintenance on the boatS would not be allowed to do so, he said the operators were not trained to carry out such maintenance.