PAC Sitting: Maritime Authority takes strides to enhance coastal surveillance … and combat Illegal activities


By Eugene Davis

The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) is poised to acquire state-of-the-art surveillance equipment aimed at detecting illicit activities within a 200-mile radius of the country’s coastal region, as revealed by Director General Thomas Kofi Alonsi during his address to parliament.

In discussions with journalists on the sidelines of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) session at Parliament House, Mr. Alonsi emphasized the urgency of upgrading the existing surveillance infrastructure, installed in 2012, which has become outdated over time. 

““The equipment was installed in 2012 and as it is with equipment like that, they have become almost obsolete hence the need to refurbish or upgrade, so currently the authority has entered into a contract to have the equipment upgraded to ensure that we get it to optimal stage.

Is about getting the equipment from a foreign company so we can upgrade our existing surveillance system. Is going to be very effective, because they have a track record, they are the same company that the Nigerians have deployed, so we can see over 200 miles of our coastal area once that equipment is installed, within 200 miles of our territorial waters…. From Keta to Axim, 200 meters from our coast.”

He highlighted the authority’s engagement in a contract to modernize the equipment, ensuring optimal functionality for monitoring activities spanning from Keta to Axim, 200 meters off the coast, within Ghana’s territorial waters.

Alonsi further elaborated on plans to refurbish the current equipment through a signed contract with Vlatacom of Serbia, enhancing the Vessel Traffic Management Information System (VTMIS) to align with contemporary standards. Enshrined in the GMA Act, 2002 (Act 630), the authority’s mandate underscores its role in regulating, monitoring, and coordinating maritime activities to safeguard national interests.

The Auditor-General’s report on the Public Accounts of Ghana underscores the significance of the VTMIS in bolstering maritime security and economic protection. However, audits revealed operational deficiencies at several VTMIS stations, including Half Assini, Axim, Takoradi, and Tema, impairing effective surveillance coverage. Particularly concerning was the inability of stations like Axim and Half Assini to transmit signals, posing risks of undetected illegal activities in vital areas like the Western region’s oil fields.

In light of these findings, the imminent procurement and enhancement of surveillance technology by the GMA signal a proactive step towards fortifying maritime security and upholding Ghana’s economic interests in its coastal waters.

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