The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has ratcheted up its efforts at protecting the marine environment, especially from oil spills, with the acquisition of a new multi-purpose vessel.
Christened Esther Afua Ocloo, after an industrialist who pioneered canned foods under the brand name, Nkulenu, the vessel is fitted with a modern oil spill recovery system made up of Desmi DBD 16 combination skimmer, HARBO oil spill Boom, an oil spray Dispersant System capable of handling TIER 1 and 2 spills in the harbour and offshore.
It has two Aerial Drones for wide-area surveillance to identify activities and spills in the country’s waters.
MV Esther Ocloo was commissioned at the weekend by President Nana Addo Adankwa Akufo-Addo at the Sekondi Naval Base.
The president also commissioned two boundary class vessels donated by the United States – the Ghana Navy Ship (GNS) Aflao and GNS Half Assini – for the Ghana Navy at the same ceremony.
The president said the country was determined to protect its territorial integrity by equipping the Navy to perform its functions.
He decried criminal activities on Ghana’s waters, noting that “This is a significant achievement considering that the country experienced several attacks on ships including the kidnapping of nine crew members from a Ghanaian vessel in 2021.”
Transport Minister Kwaku Ofori Asiamah praised the Authority for the steps taken towards protecting Ghana’s marine environment from oil spills which have grave adverse effects on marine life.
He said the acquisition and unveiling of the Oil Spill Response Vessel – MV Esther Ocloo – marked a significant milestone in the country’s maritime sector.
This, he said, was because it provided a vital platform to help the Authority carry out its mandate of creating a vibrant, safe and secured maritime ecosystem for economic growth and development.
MV Esther Ocloo, built in Singapore by renowned shipbuilders, Penguin Shipyard Asia Pte Ltd., has an overall length of 40.00m, a moulded breadth of 7.60m, a moulded depth of 3.65m with a draught of 1.89m. It is fitted with 3 units of Cummins KTA36-m2 engines.
The vessel is fitted with 3 units of Caterpillar SR4 Alternator 86eKW generators.
Given the rapid expansion of ports and Offshore activities in Ghana, it became imperative for the Ghana Maritime Authority to expand its Oil Spill Response Recovery strategy to meet the growing demand.
The Authority says it has a long-term plan to increase the number of vessels and equipment, train and equip staff to respond to Tier 1 and 2 oil spills, put in place the necessary measures to detect spills within Ghana’s maritime jurisdiction and engage stakeholders for the purposes of creating awareness and preparedness.