The Member of Parliament for Pru East, Dr Kwabena Donkor, has called on the Minister of Transport to institute investigations into the near sinking of a ferry carrying about 500 people on the Volta Lake on Wednesday.
The ferry being operated by the Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC) was traveling from Mankrado in the Volta Region to Yeji in the Brong Ahafo Region, but midway into the journey the ferry started taking in water, necessitating an emergency landing to evacuate the passengers on board the vessel.
Dr Donkor insisted that the incident should not be taken lightly and that the VLTC should be held accountable for the near mishap, because the company had been derelict in their responsibility of ensuring that they operated sea-worthy craft, as some of their vessels had been involved in similar incidences owing to their deplorable state.
“I have seen the deplorable state of that particular ferry and was not too surprised that the vessel took in water and had to make an emergency landing at a village to enable the evacuation of passengers,” he told members of the Parliamentary Press Corps in Accra on Friday.
“This is not the first time the company’s ferries have had such near misses…as Ghanaians we should not wait until there is a fatality were 500 lives perish before we cry foul,” Dr Donkor said.
The immediate past Power Minister said the Transport Ministry and other regulatory bodies such as the Ghana Maritime Authority should, as a matter of urgency, constitute an independent investigative team to find out the state of the vessels being operated by the VLTC, particularly the one that nearly sank.
“I would urge the Minister not to leave the investigation to the VLCT but to constitute an independent investigation into the circumstances leading to the incident,” he said.
He said such investigation should also be extended to the ferries in Dambai and Kete Krachie, adding that those vessels were also disasters waiting to happen.
“The ferries are a crucial means of transport for many rural folks and just as a lot of attention is given to roads, the water ways and vessels that ply them should be given adequate attention…. Safety should be a corner stone of the operations of the VLCT,” he said.
Dr Donkor suggested that a portion of the Road Fund should be utilised to purchase new vessels and recondition those currently in use.
He called on the Transport Ministry to ensure a ferry was sent to Yeji to replace the one that broke down.