It is fairly common to see the blinding blue and red lights of police cars on the streets and in neighbourhoods in many towns, especially at night.
They are often there to ward off criminals and give comfort to residents.
But what happens to criminal activities on the sea at night? As JoyNews’ Western regional correspondent, I joined the night patrol team of the Ghana Maritime Authority and the Marine Police.
The journey to the high seas started at about 6pm. It was almost sunset.
Casting its orange lights on the waters, it glistens the faces of sweaty men busily putting the many varied parts of this operation together.
This is routine for them. And each of them seems to know what they are about.
A boat, owned by the Ghana Maritime Authority and named after western region politician renowned as the father of Gold Coast politics, Paa Grant, the sea bustles gently.
The Head of the Ghana Maritime Authority in Takoradi, Captain William Thompson and that of the Marine Police, DCOP Iddi Seidu have joined the patrol.
Captain Thompson gives a briefing of the boat before we set off.
“Behind me is a boom, that we use for oil spill emergencies at the same time we use this boat for patrols”
“It goes out to sea to patrol our anchorages to keep ships and the port safe,” he added.
“We are just taking you around one of our typical all-night patrols and we are likely to come back the next morning, that is moment reality for me.
The roar of the engine and the creaking of the steering mechanism was music in my ear as a first timer on high sea
Thought and images of stories of people who have gone to sea and never returned kept on coming into my mind every now and then.
Then I heard Captain Thompson command “let’s begin numbering ourselves, 1,2,3,4 and 19.”
Headcounts, he’d tell me later, are taken as part of the regimen to ensure that the same numbers that left are the same that return. Four armed men get on board and we set sail.
The journey wasn’t as scary as I imagined, in fact, it was one of the smoothest journey I have ever had on earth.
“Lord I am enjoying my cruise, well it’s not exactly a cruise I remembered”
The GMA, the Navy and the Marine Police embark on this journey every night to arrest fuel smugglers and ensure the Takoradi port retains its enviable reputation as a safe and conducive port for commerce.
At Anchorage, where many ships dock, the Paa Grant stopped.
The armed men got off into a smaller and faster speed boat of the GMA, Private Odartey Lamptey, which takes off in search of smugglers and criminals.
Caption Darlington Akrofi of GMA, the team leader, barked some instructions.
“Check if there are some Dendey operating, make sure the sea is safe.”
Private Odartey pulls away, leaving in its wake, a beautiful splatter of water. And yes, it has blue lights flashing, as it sped off.