Coastal communities and those living along the country’s major inland
waterways have been sensitised to prioritise safety in order to protect life
and property.

The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) as part of its mandate took its
sensitization clinic to many coastal communities, including those along
the Volta Lake.

Keep yourselves safe, beaches clean – Maritime Authority advises communities

The Authority has been undertaking ambitious programmes to reduce
water transport-related accidents as well as keep the banks inland
waterways and the beaches clean.

Some of the communities include Kpando-Tokor, Kete Krachi, Dambai among others.

Led by the Deputy Director, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr
Richard Lartey, the GMA official drawn from the Public Relations unit
sensitised the people on the effects of pollution and the need for strict
adherence to all safety protocols in their voyages.

The activities started with a clean-up exercise at Kpando-Tokor at the
banks of the Lake, followed by a durbar. At the durbar addressed by Dr.
Lartey.

Keep yourselves safe, beaches clean – Maritime Authority advises communities

“We know the navy officials have been around to ensure safety on water
travels. We are here to re-echo to all present that the Authority is keen
on ensuring that safety is not compromised,” he said.

“The issue of overloading for instance, should be a thing of the past. My
dear brothers and sisters, when a boat operator tells you to sit at the
edge of a boat so he makes more money please tell him it is a risk and
do not listen. It is for your own safety,” he stressed.

Dr Lartey emphasised the importance of life jackets. “When you are
sitting in a boat from one point to another please wear your life jacket
and your nose mask.

Keep yourselves safe, beaches clean – Maritime Authority advises communities

“We know the discomfort with wearing a nose mask but it will save you
from contracting Covid-19 and save your life just like the life jacket will
do for you in case there is an accident.”

Togbe Gbadagbali whose ancestry was the first family to settle at Tokor,
commended the Authority for finding the resources to remove tree stumps from the Volta Lake. School children and farmers can now travel
safely, he said.

However, “We plead with the Ghana Maritime Authority to help construct
a proper landing site for our boats. The landing sites where our boats
dock upon return from fishing expeditions have been eroded by recent
floods,” he said.

Keep yourselves safe, beaches clean – Maritime Authority advises communities

Burkinabe and Togolese nationals who live along tributaries of the Volta
Lake in the two countries use the Tokor route to Eastern and Ashanti
regions, making the Tokor route on the Volta Lake a key transport and
logistics transiting point with Ghana’s West African neighbours as the
Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) headquartered in Accra,
comes into force.

At Kete Krachi and Dambai, small focus groups made up predominantly
of fisher folk and a few market women were organised at the banks of
the Lake with the assistance of a local resource person Jacob Kabore
Tetteh, who is the executive secretary to the National Inland Canoe
Fishermen Council.

Keep yourselves safe, beaches clean – Maritime Authority advises communities

The navy team, assemblyman and youth of the area, clad in their GMA-
branded T-shirts joined in cleaning the area.

Dr Lartey and Mr Tetteh addressed the people in local language
advising boat operators to observe the dynamics of the weather and not
operate when they realize the weather is not conducive.

‘The Authority is also concerned about operators who keep faulty spare
motors on their boats. You deceive no one. In the event the motor being
used develops a fault midstream and the spare motor is also faulty you
put your life and that of passengers at serious risk’ he counseled.

Keep yourselves safe, beaches clean – Maritime Authority advises communities

He said, from 2021, the Authority would be taking a critical look at the
boat registry. Unregistered boats will not be allowed to do business on
our waterways.

The MCE for Krachi North, Patrick Charty Jilima, graced the occasion at
Dambai and expressed his gratitude to the Authority for the initiative.
The GMA team donated rakes, brooms and waste bins to all the
communities after each clinic.