Ghana vows measures against piracy threat to oil, gas industry

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-3-23 14:20:57

Ghanaian Minister for the Interior Kwesi Ahwoi on Friday vowed to step up protection of oil and gas exploration off Cape-Three-Points of the Western Region from piracy and other forms of maritime security threat.

The minister was speaking at the official sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of administrative and academic blocks for the Marine Police Academy at Aiyinase, 287 km west of the national capital, Accra.

He noted that collaboration between the two security agencies would help clamp down on any threat posed by pirates to the oil and gas industry and ensure peace and harmony on the West African country's territorial waters.

In view of this, he urged the Ghana Navy and the Marine Police Unit of the Ghana Police Service to communicate and share essential security information to combat maritime crime and protect Ghana's petroleum installations.

Ahwoi said the Police Marine training school would train and sharpen the skills of police personnel on maritime security.

The Navy, he said, would defend the territorial waters of the country against external aggression while the Police Marine Unit would arrest and prosecute criminals arrested on the high seas.

Ahwoi commended the United States government and the United States African Command (AFRICOM) for providing funding for the construction of the two-storey block for the school.

He expressed optimism that the Police Marine School would become a mini-university for training of police personnel in Ghana and the West African sub-region.

The acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan, said the oil exploration had its associated security implications hence the re-activation of the Police Marine Unit to beef up maritime security.

The school will also offer first class maritime training to police personnel to sharpen their skills to combat illegal human trafficking, narcotic smuggling, toxic waste disposal as well as any other threat posed to oil and gas installations.

Ahwoi said the Police Marine Unit would collaborate with all the necessary state agencies to enhance security on Ghanaian waters, adding that it would also serve as a deterrent to criminals.

The Deputy United States Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Carolyn Pat Alsup, said the United States was happy to partner Ghana in strengthening its maritime security.

She urged the Police Marine Unit, navy and the Fisheries Commission to communicate and share information to ensure maximum security of the country's maritime domain.

The US government, through AFRICOM, is providing 2 million US dollars for the project, which is being undertaken by COSAP Ghana Limited and scheduled to be completed in eight months.

Ghana discovered oil and gas in commercial quantities in 2007 while commercial production commenced in the last quarter of 2010.

Posted in: Africa

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