Minister urges Police, Navy to fight maritime crime
Mr Kwesi Ahwio, Minister for the Interior, on Friday entreated the Ghana Navy and the Marine Police Unit to team-up to combat maritime crime and protect the country’s oil and gas installations.
This, he said, would go a long way to curb any threat posed by criminals and pirates to the petroleum industry and ensure peace, harmony and integrity of the country’s territorial waters.
Mr Ahwoi made these remarks in a keynote address delivered at the official sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of administrative and academic blocks for the Marine Police Academy at Aiyinase in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region.
He said the establishment of the police marine training school was to train and sharpen the skills of police personnel on maritime security and not meant to usurp the mandate of the Ghana Navy.
He said the Navy defended the territorial waters of the country against external aggression while the police Marine Unit arrested and prosecuted criminals on the high seas, therefore, it was not an avenue to create competition between the two security agencies but complement each other.
Mr Ahwoi commended the United States Government and the United States African Command (AFRICOM) for providing funding for the construction of administrative and academic blocks for the school.
He expressed the hope that the police marine training school would become a mini-university for training of police personnel in the country and other police officers within the West African sub-region.
The Interior Minister commended the Chief of Aiyinase, Nana Antwi Kpanyinli, for releasing a parcel of land for the project and advised the indigenous people to take their education seriously to gain employment in the petroleum industry.
Mr Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan, Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), said the oil exploration had its associated security implications on the country hence the re-activation of the Police Marine Unit to beef-up maritime security.
He said the Police Marine Training Academy would offer international standard training to police personnel that would sharpen their skills to combat human trafficking, narcotic smuggling, toxic waste disposal as well as any threat posed to the oil and gas installations.
He said the Police Marine Unit would collaborate with all the necessary state agencies to enhance security on Ghanaian waters saying the unit would serve as a deterrent to criminals.
Madam Carolyn Pat Alsup, Deputy United States Ambassador to Ghana, said United States was happy to partner Ghana in strengthening her maritime security domain.
She entreated the Police Marine Unit, the Navy and the Fisheries Commission to communicate and share information to ensure maximum security of the country’s maritime domain.
The United State Government, through AFRICOM, is supporting the project with two million dollars.
The project would be undertaken by COSAP Ghana Limited and would be completed in eight months.