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Western Naval Command arrest nine persons for illegal bunkering

The Western Naval Command has arrested nine persons for engaging in illegal bunkering, smuggling and other prohibited activities.

They were arrested at New Takoradi, Inchaban and other locations within the jurisdiction of the Command and had been handed over to the Police for prosecution.

The Navy seized items such as; specialised canoes, outboard motors and fuel tankers from the suspects.

This came to light when the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia paid a working visit to the Sekondi Naval Base in the Western Region on Thursday.

Commodore Isaac Osei Kuffuor, the Flag Officer Commanding the Western Naval Command, who briefed the Vice President, said the security situation within the Command was relatively calm and the Navy undertook regular patrols on the country’s territorial waters, including the oilfields.

He said the Navy needed 160,000 litres of fuel per month to ensure effective patrols and operations and needed more patrol ships to effectively patrol the jurisdiction of the Command and the oilfields.

He appealed to government to expedite action on the establishment of the Forward Operational Base at Enzilebo in the Jomoro District so that Navy personnel could be stationed there to protect the oilfields and oil installations.

Commodore Kuffuor enumerated other challenges such as; lack of accommodation for the personnel and other operational logistics adding that the Navy needed more funds to expand some health facilities constructed for them to ensure efficient delivery of healthcare.

Vice President Bawumia and his entourage inspected the seized items and later paid a courtesy call on Nana Kobina Nketsia V, the Paramount Chief of the Essikado Traditional Area.

Vice President Bawumia said the visit to the Western Naval Command was to enable government to have better understanding of issues regarding the maritime sector and enable the government to take informed decisions and implement policies to solve them.

He said Ghana could not move beyond aid when the maritime resources were adversely affected.

He said illegal bunkering could affect the collection of taxes and negatively affect the economy and government would first understand happenings on the ground to implement policies that would inure to the benefit of the citizenry.

Nana Kobina Nketsia V, commended Vice President for his humility and encouraged him to continue the good works.

He asked government not to employ people based on partisanship or ethnicity but be fair to all Ghanaians and praised the father of the Vice President for serving Ghana with zeal and patriotism and believed Dr Bawumia would emulate him.

The Vice President was accompanied by the Western Regional Minister Dr Kwaku Owusu Afriyie, the Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Elizabeth Afoley-Quaye, Deputy Minister of Aviation, Kwabena OKyere-Darko Mensah, a Deputy Minister of Energy, Joseph Cudjoe and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority, Hassan Tampuli.

Source: GNA

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