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Ghana and Denmark have signed a renewed agreement designed to deploy modern technology on the Volta Lake to determine safe navigational channels to reduce accidents and their attendant deaths.
The agreement is part of the third phase of the Strategic Sector Collaboration (SSC) between the two countries in the maritime sector.
This phase of the project will be funded at a cost of 10 million Danish Kroner, equivalent to GH¢11 million, to run from 2022 to 2025.
In line with the agreement, experts from Denmark have commenced a satellite imaging project on the lake to derive data to help in mapping out the navigational hazards on the lake.
The Director-General of the Danish Maritime Authority, Andreas Nordseth, signed on behalf of Denmark, while the Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Thomas Alonsi, signed on behalf of Ghana.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Nordseth indicated that the renewed agreement provided a framework for the Danish government to enhance the capacity of Ghanaian pilots and tugboat captains at the Tema Port.
Similarly, he said, it would also enhance the supervision of maritime training, education and certification and significantly improve the enforcement of maritime regulation.
He pointed out that Denmark was also working on competency among fishermen, looking at the international legal framework and structure.
“We stand committed and look forward to further strengthening collaboration with the various partners in Ghana’s maritime sector,” Mr Nordseth said.
The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori-Asiamah, commended the Danish authorities for their continuous support, saying the Volta Lake remained one of Ghana’s transport routes that strengthened the supply chain.
“We cannot develop a first-class port in the sub-region without looking at how best the Volta Lake could be used in enhancing trade,” he said.
While commending the GMA for removing tree stumps that served as conduits for accidents on the lake, he said the authority still lacked the capacity to finance further improvement works to reach the required safety level.
“We are, however, happy that in the third phase of the Maritime Sector Collaboration between our two countries, the mapping of the lake has come up as a major priority. I am happy it will also be supported by the cracking of stones within the lake,” Mr Ofori-Asiamah said.
In addition to the deployment of technology on the lake, the Danish government, through its maritime authority, will partner the GMA and other key aspects of industry, with the aim of contributing to the green transition through the reduction of emissions from vessels allowed into the country’s ports.
The phases one and two of the SSC project, conducted from 2015 to 2021, saw, among others, improved compliance with international maritime regulation by building a well-functioning Quality Unit for the GMA.
It also saw the building of the capacity of officials of the GMA to implement a quality auditing system for internal and external audits and for its officials to conduct audits of recognised organisations (RO) in Ghana.
Denmark’s assistance on digital solutions for safe navigation also helped the Ghanaian Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System (VTMIS) Centre to develop a system for standardised regulation of maritime safety information for the benefit of commercial shipping in Ghana.