NEWS ARCHIVE 2006 - 09

(TEPA-ABOTOASE) BIAKOYE Gov’t moves to reduce accidents on Volta Lake

Mr Mike Hammah, the Minister of Transport, has said the government would establish a fund to be spent on a programme that would ensure safety on the Volta Lake.


Date Created : 11/13/2009 11:33:35 AM : Story Author : GhanaDistrict.Com

Mr Mike Hammah, the Minister of Transport, has said the government would establish a fund to be spent on a programme that would ensure safety on the Volta Lake. 

He said this in an address read for him by her Deputy, Mrs Dzifa Attivor, at the launch of the Volta Lake Enhancement Project on "Promoting Safe Travel on the Lake" at Tapa-Abotoase. 

He appealed district assemblies along the Volta Lake and other stakeholders to contribute to the fund that would be used to train the youth to serve as lifeguards at landing sites and provide search and rescue services. 

Mr Hammah said the fund would also be used to step up education for operators, passengers and to assist boat owners acquire modern and safer boats. 

He said the government could not stand aloof to watch commuters perish unnecessarily on the lake. 

Mr Hammah mentioned measures being strengthened to include 
acquisition of modern river crafts such as economy cross-lake 
passenger ferries and long-term creation of lake traffic control units or "water police". 

He said search and rescue coordination centres equipped with logistics and communication gadgets, acquisition of patrol boats to ensure safety and provision of suitable charts for navigation, training and licensing of boat operators were being considered. 

These notwithstanding, Mr Hammah said investigations attributed major causes of accidents on the Lake to overloading, drunkenness, poor boat design and construction defects and lack of safety equipment. 

Others are physical obstruction to navigation by tree stumps and fishing nets, bad weather and general lack of satisfactory lake transportation infrastructure and navigational aids. 

He commended efforts of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Ghana Navy and the Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC) in implementing lake safety measures and establishing six major stations at Yeji, Dzemeni, Kpando Torkor, Abotoase, Dambai and Kete-Krachi. 

Mr Hammah said the GMA and the Regional Maritime University had equipped 872 boat operators and mechanics with competencies and skills awaiting certification and licensing, all targeted at injecting sanity into lake transportation. 

He commended the initiative of Zoomlion/Zoil which he declared full support for and invited other potential collaborators to join. 

Nii Nortey Dua, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, said young people constituted majority of commuters on the lake and government was committed to finding lasting solution to the perennial accidents. 

Mr Joseph Amenorwode, Volta Regional Minster, pledged the Regional Coordinating Council’s support for the project and appealed to districts and inhabitants along the lake to embrace the initiative. 

Mr Issaka Peter Azumah, Diretor-General of GMA, called for alternative means in the construction of boats and river-crafts such as fibre glass in the building of boats instead of depending on traditional materials. 

Mr Azumah said the surest way to patrol and lay surveillance was the procurement of speedboats and called on stakeholders to expedite action on that. 

Mr Samuel Opoku Manu, Manager of Zoil, said the incessant loss of human life on the Lake informed their initiative to team up with MOT, GMA, Ghana Navy and VLTC to promote safe travel on the lake. 

He said as apart of the project, 2,000 youths would be recruited and trained to monitor and ensure safety, 10,000 life jackets procured in addition to speed boats for patrolling as well as equip disaster response and rescue teams with communication gadgets established at vantage points along the lake. 

Mr Manu said through the implementation of this project "we believe a lasting and effective solution would be found to reduce the perennial occurrence of accidents on the Volta Lake.

DS