Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority News
NEW FOC-EASTERN NAVAL COMMAND, ASSURES GPHA OF CONTINUED SUPPORT TOWARDS ENHANCED SECURITY
The New Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command of the Ghana Navy, Commodore Walker, who recently took office from Commodore Kontoh, has paid a courtesy call on the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, to officially introduce himself to the Port Authority who are key collaborators, with Ghana’s marine security agency.
The FOC also took the opportunity to solicit assistance from the Port Authority to improve the execution of their mandate.
The Director of Takoradi Port, Ebenezer Afadzi acting on behalf of the Director General of GPHA, urged the Navy to continue to help police the Port’s anchorage to ensure sustenance in Ghana’s reputation of having safe waters.
 
The Director of Tema Port, Sandra Opoku, also requested the Navy to tighten its measures to create adequate resistance against the incessant rise of piracy and armed robbery on the Gulf of Guinea.
“The issue of piracy in our waters are okay but we are getting a lot of problems from the Benin and Nigerian waters. The spill over is gradually coming closer to us. That is one area that we will ask that the navy will see to it that it doesn’t,” she appealed.  
Commodore Walker, assured of his outfit’s continuous support to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, in Ghana’s marine security.
“I want to give you that assurance-that my style. I always want to be at the fore front with my men. I want us to continue to collaborate and see how best we can support each other.”

GHANA NAVY OPENS UP TO PUBLIC IN ENHANCING CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS
In a related development, the Ghana Navy has recently opened its gates to the general public including about 2000 school children to come in and experience the state security agency’s activities, as part of the Ghana Navy’s 60yrs anniversary celebration.
Some of the activities conducted included a parade, a tour of the Eastern Naval Base, education on the history and hierarchy of the Ghana Navy, as well as a sea trip and a tour of the Tema Port.
Commander Abu, Command Operations Officer, of the Eastern Naval Command, said the initiative is in line with enhancing Ghana’s Civil-Military relations. Revealing how Ghana Navy’s has ensured a safe territory for vessels to call, he expressed his outfit’s commitment to make sure piracy does not find its way into Ghanaian territorial waters.
“I just want to assure them that we will continue to ensure that the anchorage remains secure as well as the general safety of all our waters.”


IMPORTERS ADVISED TO BE CIRCUMSPECT WHEN SELECTING CLEARING AGENTS TO MITIGATE THE LIKELIHOOD OF LOOSING MONIES
President of the Association of Customs House Agents of Ghana, Yaw Kyei, has expressed that freight forwarding companies should be held culpable when an import clearance transaction goes wrong, between an individual belonging to the company and an importer.
This, according to him, is because the companies, who are licensed by customs, are supposed to be well-informed on every transaction made in the name of the company.
“They are in league with them. There’s no way an individual can clear a consignment at the port, using a company’s name without the consent of the owner of the company. So whenever issues of this sort arises, we always recommend that, they shouldn’t stop on the individual but rather move on to the company and if possible make them liable,” he argued.
The President of ACHAG, who was engaged in a live Eye on Port panel discussion on whether or not the clearing agent is proving to be a necessary evil, revealed that a major problem that has come to the attention of the freight forwarding fraternity is importers dealing with individuals and not companies which leads to the risk of being defrauded.
“Some of our member companies are not being responsible. Some of them just sit somewhere and entice individuals to go bring jobs where they stand at vintage points asking if you need help. Importers fall prey to these people and hand over documents to these individuals who might not even have an ID card,” he bemoaned.
This comes at the back of one too many importers who have reported of being defrauded by clearing agents they entrusted money with to clear their goods.
This necessitated the question to find out whether the clearing agent who is supposed to be the intermediary between state, shipping service providers and importers, is rather turning out to be a burden for the importing public.
Smile Agbemenu, Supervisor in charge of Customs Policy and Programs Department, also present at the panel discussion, agreed with Yaw Kyei’s position that freight forwarding companies should be held culpable when an import clearance transaction goes wrong because according to him, the Customs Division does not deal with individual names but licensed companies, in order to restrict access to only professionals licensed by Customs, so that they can track these entities.
“Access is restrictive. So long as you are able to use the platform to submit a declaration, it means that you have been licensed to do that. If you allow your platform to be used for the submission of that document then it means that you have given your consent to that. We will come after you and not that individual.”
He said freight forwarding companies are licensed through a rigorous investigative process where the individuals owning these companies are formally trained, and issued a proficiency certificate by customs, to be able to conduct the business of customs, on behalf of importers, which cannot be left to just any member of the public because the customs process is very complex.

“We have some key people who must be able to do that. One key person is the proficiency certificate holder, who has undergone a thorough examination process organized by customs to certify that this particular person understand the customs business. We expect that person to bring his knowledge to bare on the work,” he educated. 
Clement Boateng, National Organizer of the Ghana Union of Traders Association, and Chairman of the Abosey Okai dealers Association who bemoaned some miscreants who have resorted to taking undue advantage of importers, said the customs house agents like GIFF, ACHAG, FAG and CUBAG should take up the responsibility of embarking on an educational campaign to bring more information on the business, to importers who according to him, have been left in the dark leading to their gullibility.
He also urged importers to demand accountability from the clearing agents they designate their consignments to in order not to suffer from inflated fees coined by some of these unscrupulous clearing agents.
“When they come, demand your documents and see that the money that you parted with is what is really reflecting on the document,” he advised.
Smile Agbemenu advised that, with regards to importers falling prey to inflated customs and port fees by some unscrupulous clearing agents, importers should always request for invoices from their agents and do all payments themselves while their agents work to clear their goods for them. According to him, the only money that should be handed over to agents should be the agent’s service charge.
“If you want to be smart on the part of the importer, all you can pay the agent is actually the service fee. Any money you would want to pay government or any of the authorities at the port you can be able to do that on your own,” he said.
He said importers should make use of improved technology introduced by customs such as the Ghana trading mobile app to track their consignments so they can monitor the work they have asked clearing agents to do for them.
Yaw Kyei, President of ACHAG, urged importers to verify credible and legitimate clearing agents via Customs, the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority as well as the websites of the various Custom house bodies such as the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, the Association of Custom House Agents Ghana and also urged the importing public to be very circumspect during their dealings with agents because of the of monetary transactions involved.
“That is why we are saying that before you hand over your goods worth $100K or $150K in cash or cheque to somebody, please verify who the person and company is. You can verify from customs, Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Ghana Ports Authority (GPHA),” he cautioned.
He revealed that to sanitize the rise of miscreants within the freight forwarding fraternity, the various freight forwarding associations are coming together to form the Joint Committee of Freight Forwarding Associations.
Customs on their part said they have introduced bio data measures that when some fraudulent clearing agents are apprehended, it is made impossible for them to continue to do business.

IMaH CONDUCTS FREE BREAST SCREENING THROUGHOUT OCTOBER

The International Maritime Hospital, has opened its doors to conduct free breast screening and examination to the general public.
The free breast screening and examination is in line with the global breast cancer awareness initiative and its being conducted throughout the entire month of October on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Members of the Ghanaian public, both male, and female are entreated to visit the Hospital to get screened.


At the International Maritime Hospital, patients are taken through mammography and ultrasound scan procedures according to age, to help detect possible cancer developments.
The Family Physician Specialist, Dr. Yaa Akyaa-Boateng, who listed some risk factors for breast cancer as obesity, alcoholism, and exposure to radiation, emphasized early detection as key to the prevention and cure for breast cancer.
“When you are able to detect it early, and you report early, then we will also be able to help,” she said.
She said women who come for the screening would be taught self-breast examination.
The CEO of the International Maritime Hospital, Dr. Sylvester Yaw Oppong said, IMaH endeavours to be a socially responsible hospital and urges the general public to take advantage of the facility.
“My appeal on this occasion is that our women should not be frightened to check their breasts. We are of age now as medical services providers and we know how the cancer is preventable at the very early stage. All we want is to plead that they come early,” he encouraged.

PROGRAM TO CLEAN THE COAST OF ALL BEACHES LAUNCHED
The Ghanaian coastline is reported to have become notorious for harbouring a lot of public waste and efforts by social organizations and associations to embark on occasional clean up exercises have not yielded much results since the interventions are not regular and sustainable to completely eradicate waste from the shores of the country.
Beaches do not only cater for recreational needs of people, but a clean coast and the sea protects natural resources, marine life and public health.
This is why the Coastal Conservancy Organization, a non-profit organization, has resorted to move away from occasional clean up exercises, to organize a more regular and effective cleaning regime to solve the perennial filthy coastline of Ghana with support from the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.
“We identified the need for the clean coast beach project which meets a critical national interest to rid our coast line and beaches of marine litter and filth. An initiative that fits in well with the president’s vision of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa,” the Chairman of the Coastal Conservancy Organisation said.  
Justice Eshun, Chairman of the Coastal Conservancy Organization, during the launch of the project, applauded the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority for its support to have an efficient marine space management system.
“Factoring the Clean Coast Beach project through your corporate social responsibility program has positioned Ghana’s Ports And Harbours Authority as a leader in the maritime industry of Africa in making a meaningful difference in Ghana’s maritime environment and also serves as a catalyst for others in the maritime industry community to join and ensure the entire coastal area of Ghana is saved and preserved for the present and the future,” he praised.
The Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Michael Luguje said its contribution has become necessary to safeguard shipping and marine activities.
“Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority as a maritime industry operator, considers the marine environment as fundamental to the survival of shipping,” he said.
He revealed that works are also far advanced to sanitize the ocean waters itself in collaboration with the Ghana Maritime Authority, and urged support from other stakeholders, to assist in the sustainable initiative to clean up the beaches.

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