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Chiefs call for investigation into dead whales

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Chiefs from the Western Region and Friends of the Nation (FON), a  Western Region based NGO with focus on the environment, have expressed concern about the frequent dead whales washing ashore.

The chiefs and the FON at a separate forums organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Takoradi and Sekondi said though whales die, the frequency of the recent deaths of whales was a worry to them and appealed to the EPA to investigate.

The EPA recently organized forums to collate views on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the purpose of obtaining environmental permit for the proposed oil discovery namely Tweneboah, Enyera, and Ntomme (TEN) project by the Jubilee Oil Partners.

The Report showed that from 2009 to November 2013 a total of 21 whales have washed ashre with 10 occurring in Novembe in the Greater Accra and Western regions.

Some fisher folks at the programme attributed the dead whales to oil spillage  by the Jubilee Partners – Tullow,  the major operator, Kosmos Energy, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Ghana National Petroleum Company and Sabre Oil and Gas.

Speaking in turns at a forum at the Western Regional House of Chiefs, they reiterated their call on the government to allocate a quota of employment opportunities to the region to make the Local Content policy in the oil industry a reality.

They said they could not understand why some of the youth had the skills capable of working in the industry yet they were ignored for foreign staff.

The chiefs stressed the need for their active involvement in the selection of the youth in their communities to ensure that the rightful people benefit from the local content policy in the oil industry.

For the unskillful ones, the chiefs suggested to the Jubilee Partners to offer training programmes in basic fields.

They said since their communities were the immediate victims should any environmental disaster occurred they must benefit largely from the offer.

Officials of the FON also had at several programmes expressed concern about the dead whales and pleaded with EPA to address the situation.

Mr Daniel Amlalo, the Executive Director of the EPA, said the dead whales were normal as some foreign coastal communities had the same experience.

Mr Amlalo, a biologist, said the whales might have died far away for various reasons and washed ashore in Ghana’s territorial waters, saying that organisms normally respond to movement in the sea.

“This is not strange, it is not the first time we have whales beaching so the numbers are not frightening”, he said.

Source: GNA

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