Illegal oil deals in Takoradi

Crews on board some merchant and supply vessels that call at the Takoradi Port engage in illegal bunkering of large volumes of petroleum products for cash at the Takoradi anchorage.

The danger, however, is that the perpetrators engage state security personnel in uniform to give them cover during their operations.

The products are referred to as ‘remaining on-board (ROB)’, and they are so called because they are left in the vessels after the supply or tanker vessels have pumped out their supply to the intended destinations.

The ROB, which is mostly between 10 and 20 tonnes, is then pumped out and illegally traded offshore without the payment of tax.

Industry experts say it is a big business and has the potential of corrupting people because it has a high profit margin, with the dealers making more than 100 per cent profit without tax.

The petroleum products, mostly diesel, are pumped from the merchant vessels at the anchorage using specially made canoes designed for that purpose, with the inside lined with plastic to avoid contamination and leakage.

The fuel is then transported to filling stations in the Takoradi metropolis and sold to the public.

When the Daily Graphic contacted the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and the Western Regional Police Command, officials there said the act had come to their notice and described it as illegal.

The police said they had launched investigations into the illegal business which had gone on for more than a year to find out the suppliers, the dealers, the security personnel involved and the final destinations of the products.

The Daily Graphic followed up on the persistent reports made to the police and the GPHA by the chiefs and elders of New Takoradi, the closest community to the port and the anchorage, concerning the activities of the security operatives who are supposed to be arresting those involved.

The community members said sometimes the sharing of money among the security personnel involved in escorting the products turned into fierce fights.

When reporters went undercover last week to follow up on the concerns of the residents of New Takoradi about 11:25 p.m., the dealers were found seriously in the act, with some uniformed men armed with rifles providing cover.

The tanker which was to deliver the fuel, with no visible number plate, reversed close to the sea about 11:30 p.m., while the canoe was on stand-by with a water pumping machine and a long hose.

The team of reporters waited until the dealers finished loading the tankers and moved into the community, but for fear of being discovered, the reporters could not follow the tankers to the final destinations of the product.

The state security personnel, who could not be identified because the place was in darkness, emerged from the darkness and moved to the area where the loading was taking place.

The reporters thought the security men were going to effect the arrest of those engaged in the illegal act. But that was not to be, as they rather moved to the tanker for some time and left a few minutes later using the same route.

The police said they would do everything possible to ensure that the trade did not gain roots in the country.

Source: Daily Graphic

1 Comment
  1. gretchy says

    Hahaha pigs fly.cudnt identify them because of darkness.OMG are the police there for REAL!!! .U dumb buggers have the power to arrest them there and then geezee!!.Or are they waiting for their share of the talings.Get rid of Atta Mills ghanaians

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