The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has observed that the bunkering of oil and the smuggling of other resources were denying the country the needed revenue for accelerated development.
“We will have to stop this phenomenon to be able to move beyond aid and I will brief the President to see how to deal with this menace,” he stated.
Dr Bawumia made the observation in his interaction with the media during his working visit to the Western Naval Command (WNC) in Takoradi in the Western Region yesterday.
He was accompanied by some government officials, including the management of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and some Members of Parliament from the area.
The Second Garrison Commander and Flag Officer Commanding the WNC, Commodore Isaac Osei-Kuffuor, briefed the Veep on the activities of his command and said that in spite of the challenges facing his outfit, it had been able to provide operational responses to stem the activities of saboteurs operating on the high seas.
According to him, the command was maintaining “naval presence in our waters to prevent the activities of criminals. We can survive our battle through constant presence at sea”.
The commander mentioned some challenges confronting the WNC to include limited fuel allocation, fewer ships for offshore patrol duties, inadequate accommodation for officers and a lack of outboard motors for patrols.
The Vice-President and the commander later held a closed-door meeting to discuss strategies that could be mounted to maintain law and order on the high seas.
Bunkering and other criminal activities are said to be on the increase on the high seas and offshore.
Other illegal activities include poaching, unreported fishing, narcotics and arms smuggling, pollution of the marine environment and terrorism.
A number of people arrested by the command’s patrol teams have been handed over to the police for further investigations and prosecution.
Dr Bawumia and his entourage also visited the Omanhene of the Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, at his residence.
Nana Nketsia urged the Vice-President to continue to show humility and ensure that unity prevailed in the country at all times.
He also entreated the government to ensure that employment and development were carried out fairly and not on partisan considerations.