Egbert Faibille, Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Commission (PC) has praised fishermen for their cooperation in minimising incursions into safety zones.
“A safety zone is an area extending 500 metres from any part of offshore oil and gas installations; our fishermen have done well in minimising risks to fishing and petroleum activities.
“Through their support and collaboration with the navy, the rate of incursions around petroleum facilities reduced from 1,424 in quarter three of 2021 to 36 in quarter three of 2022, representing an about-97 percent decrease,” he said.
This, he noted, can be attributed to the fisher-folks’ cooperation by refraining from fishing in the exclusive zones; increased patrols around the exclusive zones; as well as the annual multi-stakeholder landing beach sensitisation campaign at selected beaches in the Western Region.
“While commending them for their efforts, I wish to appeal for chiefs to encourage fisher-folks to continue respecting the rights of other stakeholders in the marine space, so as to maintain a conducive environment for sustainable activities along the upstream oil and gas value chain,” he added.
Mr. Faibille was speaking at a meeting with the Western Regional House of Chiefs at Sekondi to apprise them of activities in the country’s upstream petroleum industry.
Also, the meeting served as a platform to share ideas with a view to improving on the region’s socio-economic development, and the role the oil and gas industry can and must play in that direction.
Giving an update on recent tensions between fishermen and personnel of the Ghana navy, he explained that in August this year the Commission received a petition from the Western Regional branch of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council over alleged physical harassment of some of its members by personnel of the Ghana navy.
Subsequently, he said, the Commission conducted a preliminary investigation into the matter, which revealed that such allegations were widespread in the coastal communities.
A stakeholder engagement was organised to unravel the facts and for an amicable solution, and it was later announced that significant progress had been made toward resolving the issue.
“The navy has given assurance that it will investigate the matter, and those found culpable will be appropriately sanctioned. We have also requested a copy of the incident report on the matter from the Ghana navy – with full particulars including dates of the incidents, vessel numbers, and if possible names of the naval ratings or officers involved in the alleged harassment to aid further investigations into the matter.
“I wish to assure you that the Commission cherishes the harmonious relationship it enjoys with fishermen, and is committed to pursuing the matter to its logical conclusion and ensure this unfortunate practice is cast off,” he said.
Awulae Angama TuaGyan, Chief of Gwira Traditional Area, thanked the Petroleum Commission for the yearly update on their activities.
“PC has been supporting the Western Regional House of Chiefs over the years, and we are very grateful. However, we are appealing to you through the oil and gas service companies to ensure that our conference hall is renovated to befit the status of the Regional House of Chiefs,” he said.