The Western Naval Command in Takoradi in the Western Region has arrested nine persons and several vessels seized following their involvement in illegal bunkering.
According to the Commander for 2 Garrision Naval Base, Commodore Isaac Osei Kufuor, the Naval Intelligence Department is collating intelligence and analyzing and interpreting them to advise the Naval Command as to how to deal with illegal bunkering.
Commodore Isaac Osei Kufuor, said looking at the experience of Nigeria, it is safe to say that these vessels involved in this illegal activity are very well connected and have wide and deep networks because the enterprise is very lucrative.
“These marine vessels arrange with their collaborators at shore, they agree on a position at sea to rendezvous, and determine when no ship is going to sea, and then these specialized canoes which can take as much as 30,000 litres of diesel at a go, take on the fuel and return to either a beach or fishing harbour where the tankers will be waiting for them and all these are pumped into the tankers and off they go. No dime paid for duty or tax, meanwhile they’re making millions of dollars.” Commodore Isaac Osei Kufuor disclosed this to Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia when he and other government officials visited the Western Naval Command on Thursday.
Commodore Isaac Osei Kufuor noted that the solution to this illegal activity is not to tackle it at the destination but rather at sea where the Navy should always be present constantly, adding that the presence of the Navy is enough of a deterrent for the perpetrators.
Meanwhile, four fuel tankers that had been used in smuggling premix fuel and diesel have also been impounded by the Western Naval Command.
Kasapa FM, Presidential Correspondent, Kwaku Opare who traveled with the Vice President reported that the Western Naval Command appealed to the H.E Dr Bawumia to look at the possibility of the state confiscating the fuel tankers for use by the Navy.