Operators of boat services on the Volta Lake have registered their displeasure over the new directive by government to arrest and prosecute boat operators who fail to provide patrons with life jackets.
Although few of them welcomed the directive, majority of the operators at Torgor-Dzemeni, Akatey, Abotuase, Kpando-Torkor, Yapei, Buipe, Yeji and Kete-Krachi, who took turns to speak to Today in an interview, described the directive as “unreasonable.”
“We are not against the position of government to instil discipline on the Volta Lake by ensuring that we provide passengers with life jackets, but the directive has the probability to pose greater security threat to our boat operating services,” they stressed.
The Daily Graphic on Thursday, October 6, 2016 carried a news story with the headline: “Boat operators to be prosecuted… if they fail to provide patrons with life jackets” to support the government’s position.
According to the story, Director General of Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Rev. Dr. Peter Azumah, warned that boat operators on the Volta Lake, who refused to provide life jackets for their patrons in times of emergency, would be prosecuted.
But, that decision by GMA since then, has received mixed reactions from majority of operators in towns including Torgor-Dzemeni, Akatey, Abotuase, Kpando-Torkor, Yapei, Buipe, Yeji and Kete-Krachi.
They explained that their arrest and prosecution was not the ultimate solution to boat disasters on the Black Volta Lake.
According to them, the primary solution to the frequent boat disasters on the lake was for government to equip navy officers who have been deployed to various places along the Black Volta River to check overloading.
They suggested that the disasters could be minimised when government properly equips personnel with speed boats to check movements of boats from one destination to the other, and especially on market days.
The lack of logistics, they also disclosed, was equally a contributory factor to the incessant boat accidents.
While admitting that such disasters have myriad causes, they called on GMA to ensure that maritime activities were conducted within the acceptable regulatory framework.
Meanwhile Chairman of the Boat Owners Association, Vincent Abotse, and his Secretary, John Kpelli, have separately told journalists that their activities were saddled with lots of challenges, including dangerous protrusions in the lake and the lack of safety signals to direct operators of any impending hazards.
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