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Maritime authority refuses to be blamed for Yeji disaster

The Ghana Maritime Authority has dismissed claims that it is to blame for the Yeji boat disaster which occurred on Sunday May 29, 2016.

The boat, carrying about 70 passengers capsized after hitting a tree stump. So far about 13 bodies have been retrieved, six of them children.

According to reports, the passengers refused to wear their life jackets, a situation which contributed to the large number of casualties.

Following the incident, Member of Parliament for Pru East, Dr Kwabena Donkor said the lack of enforcement of safety regulations by the Maritime Authority is one of the causes of the recurring accidents on the Volta Lake.

“The major reason in my opinion is the non-enforcement of appropriate regulations by the regulatory body and the district assemblies along the Volta Lake,” he said.

He chided the Maritime Authority for failing in its duties of ensuring that travelers on the Volta Lake are safe.

However, the Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Dr Peter Azumah disagrees. In an interview, he said the MP’s comment is regrettable.

“It is unfortunate. With due respect and humility, a responsible person like an honourable MP will make such a statement.”

He said his outfit set up the first naval task force station in Yeji with patrols along the Volta Lake to ensure a reduction in the number of accidents on the Lake.

A lot more has been done by the Authority, he said, to ensure that the lake is safe for travel and the accidents reduced to its bearest minimum.

He admitted though that there is the need to complement what is being done with patrol boats but the Authority does not have the resources to undertake the task.

“The Authority is just a national agency and this is not a commercial business, therefore there is nothing like cost recovery so we try as much as possible within the monies that we are raising from internally generated resources to do these things.”

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