Police Join GPHA Fight Stowaway

This agreement was made after the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan and some senior police officers visited the GPHA as part of their working visit to the Marine and Railway Ports Police Unit, yesterday.

The Director General of the GPHA, Richard Aburi-Yinga, who welcomed the IGP and his men at their headquarters, revealed that Ghana had been rated as a country within the West Coast with the highest recorded number of stowaways in Africa.

He noted that as of 2013 last year, about 82 stowaways were recorded.

‘Out of the number, 36 were discovered before the vessels took off but 46 others were later discovered on the high sea and had to be transported back to Ghana in line with the international convention.’

Within the first four months of this year, he noted that about 31 stowaways have been recorded and they included 29 Ghanaians and two Nigerians.

Mr Aburi-Yinga continued that the most worrying aspect of the whole activities of the stowaways was the inability of the police prosecuting unit to prosecute them.

‘Suspects after being handed over to the police upon their arrest are later freed and when we ask, we are told that the police lack evidence to prosecute them.’

The IGP continued…’Despite the lack of logistics being faced by the new unit, we are ready to use the resources available to help free the ports of criminal activities.’

Mr Alhassan said the police administration is also ready to collaborate with GPHA and its sister units to intensify patrols during the days and night within the ports.

Touching on the number of personnel at the Marine Police Unit in the country, the IGP said the administration is ready to employ about 30 specialised personnel to join the marine police, whose membership strength now stands at 60 to patrol the Ghana waters.

The Ghana Marine Police Unit (MPU) is one of the new units set up in April 2011, by the Ghana Police Service (GPS) to protect the country’s off-shores as well as our oil and gas industry.

Currently, the unit operates two 9-metre patrol boats and four 6.3-meter rigid inflatable boats and has membership strength of about 60 who are specialised in the area.

The IGP later toured the Ada and Senchi to interact with personnel on duty at the area.

The Commander in-charge of Tema Marine Railway and Port Police, Superintendent Antwi Ababio, told the IGP and his entourage at Ada and Senchi that as part of their duties, personnel often patrolled the beaches, lakes and the sea.

He noted that in line of duties, a lot of the fishermen who go on fishing using generators and lights were arrested and their lights seized.

He noted that over loaded cannons were also compelled to off-load before they are freed to move whenever they are spotted.

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By Linda Tenyah

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