The Port of Tema is located 28 km east of Ghana’s capital city, Accra. West Africa’s promising container hub, Tema Port, is uniquely situated and geographically closest to the centre of the world than any other. Its strategic position allows for the passage of the Greenwich Meridian (Longitude 0° 00.0’) and provides for a time zone of GMT + 0000 hours at all times. The thriving Port of Tema is centred on coordinates 05° 37’N, 000° 00’.
Ship’s agents for vessels intending to call Tema Port are to electronically book placement for their vessels online (unity.ghanaports.org).
As part of COVID-19 protocol, any vessel calling the Port of Tema is required to submit a completed COVID-19 Form at least 7 days prior to ship’s estimated time of arrival. Ships calling Tema Port are required to provide a 72-hour Pre-Arrival Notification in advance of ships declared Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) by 1430 hours GMT on Monday to Thursday and before 1000 hours GMT on Friday for weekend working.
The anchorage area of Tema Port is extensive and bounded by the following coordinates;
• AA 05° 35.2’N, 000° 04.1’W
• DC 05° 36.5’N, 000° 03.5’E
• HC 05° 32.8’N, 000° 05.9’E
• HD 05° 30.8’N, 000° 03.4’E
• IB 05° 30.6’N, 000° 00.8’W
• IC 05° 29.4’N, 000° 04.1’W
It is further detailed with demarcations into adequate zones for ships per their kind or purpose i.e. Container ships, Tankers, etc. Depth at the anchorage is variable, ranging from 6 to 54 metres. Ships intending to await berthing prospects from the anchorage area are required to notify Tema Port Control for grant of access.
Tema Port has a capacity of 21 berths with draughts ranging from 8.2 to 16m. Terminal 1 and 2 have 16 berths which serve as multipurpose berths excluding Valco and Oil Berth. Terminal 3 is a dedicated container terminal that currently operates 3 berths and capable of receiving ships of 366m LOA and16 metres draught.
Tankers moored alongside the oil terminal must deploy fire wires and position a floating boom around the vessel. Two fire-fighting pumps have been mounted at the terminal for emergency fire response purposes. The oil berth is capable of accommodating tankers of up to 244 metres in length with a maximum draught of 9.7 metres.
Towage is compulsory within the harbour. The Port Authority operates 5 tugs, 3 of which have a bollard pull of 60 tonnes, and the other 2 with a capacity of 80 tonnes bollard pull. All 5 tugs are fitted with fire-fighting systems.
Average tidal readings for the Port of Tema provides the following information for the accompanying tidal state; an average height of 1.6 metres for MHWS and 1.3 metres for MHWN. Lows recorded to reflect a height of 0.2 metres for MLWS and 0.7 metres for MLWN.
Port Control is Global Maritime Distress & Safety System (GMDSS) compliant and maintains a 24-hour watch on VHF Channels 14 and 16. The station’s VHF communication has a range of approximately 20 – 30 nautical miles. Vessels calling the Port of Tema are required to contact Tema Port Control when the ship is within the VHF communication range for ETA confirmation.
Approaches from seaward to the pilot boarding grounds are usually eastwards. Vessels predominantly experience the effect of the moderate to long SW swells which cause ships to roll moderately (about 4°) and occasionally developing into heavy rolls (8° - 10°). The effect of rolling is more pronounced when the ship is less than 5 cables from the main breakwater head during the monsoon season from April to September. A mile to the pilot boarding station, ships are advised to report to port control for pilot transfers and embarkation.
Light to fresh breezes from W and SW throughout the year except for December-February when the NE harmattan dominates, causing poor visibility. Dangerous winds are the easterly squalls which become prevalent during the rainy seasons.
Apart from Easter Monday and Christmas holidays on which days all shipping movements are suspended, marine services are provided 24/7 for all berths except for Oil Berth and Valco Berth where pilotage services are delivered from 0600hrs to 1800hrs daily.
All ships requiring pilotage services within the port are to communicate the same to Tema Port Control on Channel 14. Requests for such services are required to be sent by the ship or her agent one hour earlier to the service time unless for emergency purposes. Any vessel approaching from seaward is required to rig the pilot ladder leeward for safe embarkation. Pilot boarding arrangements for disembarkation are communicated to the departing ship by Port Control.