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Some political actors may be behind the illegal activities of unregistered oil vessels on Ghanaian territorial waters, Richmond Rockson, Principal Research Analyst at the Institute of Energy Security (IES) has said.
According to him, the nature of that illegal trade is such that one will need connections to topnotch politicians in order to engage in that business.
His comment comes in the wake of the arrest of some unregistered vessels on Ghanaian waters.
The Ghana Navy, in collaboration with the NPA and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), impounded two unregistered oil vessels on Ghanaian territorial waters for allegedly engaging in illegal oil trade.
The vessels, believed to be Nigerian vessels, had eleven crew on board with a total of 320 metric tonnes of fuel.
Addressing a News Conference in Tema on Saturday, 14 April 2018, the Chief Staff Officer at the Naval Headquarters, Commodore Issah Yakubu, said investigation is yet to be conducted to know the actual quantity of the product.
He added that the two vessels were not licensed hence their arrest. Commodore Yakubu further issued a warning to persons who may be nursing plans of engaging in these illegal activities that the collaborative machinery of the state has been revitalised to deal with miscreants.
For his part, the Acting Chief Executive of the NPA, Hassan Tampuli, mentioned that all the institutions in the oil industry will carry out an independent investigations to ascertain whether or not the confiscated product type meets the Ghanaian specs. He stressed that proper sanctions will be meted out to the culprits if found guilty.
Commenting on this development on Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM hosted by Chief Jerry Forson on Monday, 16 April 2018, Mr Rockson noted that there are some similarities between this kind of activity and the illegal small-scale mining trade (galamsey).
According to him, both require the support of some politicians in order to succeed.
“If you don’t have a serious connection with the politicians, you cannot do such a business,” he said.
He added: “Definitely it cannot be an ordinary person on the streets behind the business because you need huge sums of money to buy heavy-duty equipment, it's just like the galamsey business where people with the money and well connected to the politicians are able to engage in the business because of the resources they have.”
He, however, acknowledged that government has taken steps to deal with the illegal oil smuggling problem.