The Managing Director of Fibreglass Ghana, Benedict Lamptey has prescribed the use of fibreglass boats as the panacea for averting the number of deaths on water bodies in the country.
He explained that the application of fibreglass technology would be the best technology for the country with the advent of climate change and its impact on water bodies to ensure the safety of people travelling along the Volta lake/river crossing, movement in coastal sea lanes and lagoons in the country.
Mr Lamptey, who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra, said it was time for Ghana to embrace fibreglass technology in this era of climate change when rivers, lakes and oceans had become more turbulent during fishing and very unsafe for water transportation.
He bemoaned the use of dugout canoes as means of fishing and transporting people, which was a major risk to people’s lives and accounted for the rising reported death cases of boat disasters in the country.
Mr Lamptey explained that timber dug-out canoes had weaker composition when in contact with water and the rising temperature levels due to climate change made the wood to rot in no time with the absorption of water, resulting in the capsizing of boats because of the imbalances in their movements.
He further called on the government and businesses in the water transport and fishing sector to make the use of fibreglass boats a priority policy to ensure the safety of all.
“The phasing out of dug-out canoes is long overdue as it affects the reforestation drive to preserve Ghana’s forest resources,” he said.
Mr Lamptey revealed that Fibreglass Ghana had built about 20 fishing boats under the auspices of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority for use along the coastal belts as part of its corporate social responsibility for the good of the marine sector and fishing industry in Ghana.
He disclosed that Fiberglass Ghana constructed a boat which carried passengers in the Northern and Volta regions of Ghana.
The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2020 reports that flooding, rainfall and sea erosion would continue to increase in magnitude, frequency, durations and severity in Ghana and the sub-Saharan Africa in the 21st century due to the effects of climate change.
For instance, a news report of March this year said five people died out of 100 passengers travelling from Azizanya to attend a funeral at Azizakpe in the Ada East District of the Greater Accra Region when their boat capsized.
Another incident at Faana Bortianor in the Greater Accra Region this month, also claimed the lives of nine children after the boat in which they were being ferried capsized.
The Chief Engineer of Fibreglass Ghana, Captain Kwame Osei, also lamented the rising death tolls involving, especially among vulnerable children, who represented.
“It is sad to note that for decades now, no year had passed without one disaster or another occurring in communities along the Volta Lake such as Dambai, Abotoase, Kpedzi, Tsevi and Agyatakope,” he added.
Captain Osei explained that the structural design of dug-out canoes had shortfalls in the construction of body parts covering the keel, hull and beam which affects the buoyancy and stability, making it easy to lose balance and capsize in challenging weathers.
He revealed that Fibreglass Ghana’s locally constructed canoes and water boats had undergone vigorous trials under rough weather conditions without their stability and robustness being affected and collision with various objects embedded in the water bodies cannot impede their movements.
Capt. Osei stated that Fibreglass Ghana, in collaboration with Ing. Prof. Kwame Ardiabah of Final Vision Technology in Canada, had developed a tracking system technology.
He explained that the tracker comprised a quantum server with capacity to track and monitor all aspects of maritime activities of canoes at sea, lakes and rivers operating in the maritime and inland water space, using latest machine language algorithms to identify recalcitrant vessels at sea in Ghana waters.