The Environmental Protection Agency is to halt an ongoing ship breaking activity on the shores of Dzita in the Keta Municipality of the Volta Region.
Mr Benjamin Oppong Darkwa, Regional Director disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after some fisher folk expressed concerns over the possible pollution of water bodies and the obstruction of fishing activities.
The Regional EPA Boss said an enforcement notice had been issued to the Company to stop work because it failed to attain permit for the Authority to ascertain the right ownership of the ship, proper disposal of electronic waste, batteries and petroleum products in the vessel.
“Every salvaged ship runs on oil and we cannot allow them to pollute our waters”, he said, adding that, without permit from the EPA, the company would not be allowed to work because the Authority could not regulate the noise pollution and the environmental friendly disposal of the scraps.
The locals had expressed fear that the fishing community was gradually becoming a ship breaking hub, having hosted two of such activities in the past three years. Agbotadua Ahevi, one of the Community Leaders told the GNA that debris from the ship broke their nets, with oil spillage contaminating the waters and the beaches since last year April.
He said a similar activity took place in the community some three years ago and appealed to relevant state institutions to help stop the practice, which he said was affecting the livelihood of the people.
Mr Samuel Bedzo, Assembly Member for Dzita said the decommissioned ship was being towed to Ada for dismantling when it broke away and drifted into Togolese waters, and was forced to land on the beach early 2018.
He alleged that stakeholders including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Police and the Municipal Assembly agreed for the vessel to be dismantled at Dzita as it was grounded and could not be moved to Ada, and that members of the community including fisher folks were engaged on the activity.
The vessel, owned by Rocksford Enterprises SA based in Bahamas and managed by Canadian Global Seas Carriers is said to have been sold to Nlala Company Limited, a scrap dealing company in Ghana, which is dismantling it at Dzita.
Checks by the GNA indicate that the scrap dealing company was given permit by the Keta Municipal Assembly and the Ghana Maritime Authority to operate, with that of the Maritime Authority expiring in October last year.
Ship breaking activity involves the removal of equipment and the breaking of the ship’s hull known to thrive in areas where occupational safety, environmental requirements, and labour are relatively low.