Vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has charged the Ghana Navy to intensify its patrol of the sea to arrest all criminal groups involved in the smuggling of petroleum products.
He has assured the Navy of the government’s continued support to enable it to effectively crack down on the illegal activities that are robbing the country of millions of cedis.
Speaking at the Western Naval Command base in Sekondi Thursday, the Vice president said the government will do everything possible to protect Ghana’s resources.
Ghana is estimated to lose GHS1billion to activities of criminal groups who smuggle petroleum products to neighbouring countries.
Some of the people involved in the illegal bunkering are reportedly connected to a wide network made up of Ghanaians and foreign nationals.
The lucrative nature of the business has compelled some fishermen to abandon their work for the illegal activities, Joy News’ Latif Iddrisu who accompanied the Vice-president reported.
The Western and Eastern Commands of the Ghana Navy rose to the occasion leading to the arrest of some of the criminals engaged in the smuggling.
Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Commodore Isaac Osei Kuffuor
But the Navy is under-resourced to effectively undertake its constitutional responsibility of safeguarding the country’s territorial waters.
“For every arrest we make, at least nine or ten of the [criminals] escape,” Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Commodore Isaac Osei Kuffuor said of the challenges the Navy is faced with, in completely securing Ghana’s territorial waters.
While commending the Navy for arresting some smugglers, the Vice president said the government will make the necessary logistics available to the two commands.
“Government will continue efforts to crack down on these illegal activities in order to eliminate its impact on our economy,” Dr Bawumia said.
He was accompanied on the visit to the Naval Base by the Western Regional Minister, Defense Minister Dominic Nitiwul, Fisheries Minister, Chief of Naval Staff, Deputy Energy Minister and National Petroleum Authority (NPA) boss, Hassan Tampuli.