General News of Monday, 30 May 2016
Member of Parliament for Pru, Dr. Kwabena Donkor is calling for the stringent enforcement of maritime regulation to help fight the needless boat disasters in the country.
While admitting such disasters have a “myriad of causes” the MP and former Power Minister said the Ghana Maritime Authority has a responsibility to ensure that all maritime activities are conducted within the acceptable regulatory framework.
His comment to Joy News comes a day after scores drowned in the Yeji boat disaster, Sunday.
The boat carrying about 70 passengers was said to have hit a tree stump and sunk in the middle of the journey from Nantwekope to Yeji in the Brong Ahafo region.
The bodies of six children under three years were first pulled out of the river during a late afternoon search by the Ghana Navy on Sunday. Two more bodies, including a pregnant woman, were found Monday morning.
According to Daniel Takyi of Alive FM in Yeji, the accident happened 45 minutes away from the mainland, a distance that hampered any hope for a quick rescue.
Speaking to Joy News, the MP for the area Dr. Kwabena Donkor said the low level of Volta Lake is also partly to blame for the disaster.
“When the lake is at its lowest a number of stumps come up and become a threat to navigation,” he said.
More importantly, the MP said failure by residents to use life jackets anytime they board the boats is another worrying phenomenon that must be checked.
He said just like how motor riders in Accra fail to wear helmets even when they have some, residents along the Volta Lake also fail to wear life jackets even when the jackets are available.
“The boats have life jackets and yet they don’t wear life jackets,” he lamented.
He said “the trees must be cleared; navigation routes demarcated properly to prevent some of these disasters.
Dr. Donkor also reiterated the need for the authorities to apply the law and to educate Ghanaians about the importance of life jackets in order to fight the menace.
He said when the regulations are properly enforced, even the boat and how it is constructed, the life jackets and navigation routes will all be taken care of.