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We Are Constrained By Legal Bottlenecks To Prosecute Pirates In Ghana – GMA Boss

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Mr Thomas Alonsi has bemoaned the constraints in the marital legal regime in Ghana that painfully obstructs us from prosecuting pirates in our territorial waters to face the legal music.

Briefing the Press in Accra, Mr Alonsi intimated that Ghana does not wield the legal right to try robbers on our sea to face the consequences as a result of a certain lacuna that painfully ties the country’s hands to mete out the requisite legal charges against these pirates.

“As a result of this lacuna in our legal regime as a country , we have to send culprits to Nigeria for trial and we cannot enforce ,alter or even appeal against whatever verdict arrived at ; so we live by a decision by the maritime court in Nigeria,” he lamented.

He disclosed that some pirates have been apprehended and forwarded to Nigeria for trial. “We have had series of meetings and discussions with our counterparts in Nigeria and Benin all geared towards the stemming of this disturbing incidents. My outfit and the Ghana Navy have also been having discussions and meetings on the same issue and we are making headway”.

Mr Alonso further revealed that a number of patrol boats for the maritime police and the Ghana Navy to criss-cross the country’s portion of the Gulf of Guinea to chase or arrest these sea robbers who attack foreign vessels at gun point.

On the issue of amending the existing laws to free Ghana to have the power to prosecute these pirates, the CEO indicated that the parliamentary select Committee on fishing has been asked to contact parliament to address the this lacuna in the legal regime to enable Ghana try future offenders. He also touched on onother issue of the plying of our sea territory by foreign vessels that take away our fishes that cost the nation about 50 million dollars annually .

The IUU saga according to him, is also being addressed by the country’s Navy on high seas patrols to avoid this illegal practice. He told Journalists that the ministry of fisheries and acqua culture and his outfit have come out with ways of stemming this illegal fishing activities and any foreign vessels caught would be dealt with .

He said some local boats have also been seized for similar offence and the boats in question would be destroyed and owners prosecuted. He warned that nationals who are fronting for these foreign ships and boats would not be spared if found culpable in this unpatriotic act. It is our duty to protect territorial waters of Ghana and as part of our mandate, we are on course to safeguard the water boundaries of the country at all cost” ,he summed up.

Source :Nana Poku /johnawuniktv@gmail.com

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