New Ship-to-ship, bunker zones to guard against piracy – Energy Minister announces

Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko Kyerematen at the event
  • industry players to pay more bills for sulphur cap implementation

Government has begun plans to establish designated Ship-to-Ship and Bunker Zones outside Tema and Takoradi Ports to safeguard Ghana’s liquid cargo business against piracy, Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko Kyeremateng has said.

The agenda, Agyarko noted, is central to the country’s plan to build a Petroleum Hub by the year 2030.

The Hub will therefore test Ghana’s ability to provide a regulatory environment that assures investors of safety and security against piracy and other maritime crimes.

“These Bunker Zones which will include both Anchor and Drifting Zones, will ensure drastic reduction in the risk of piracy during offshore bunker operations, improve maritime security, enhance collection of tariffs, curb illegal fuel smuggling, adulteration of fuel and unscrupulous blending of fuels,” Agyarko said at the 10th Maritime Week Africa Conference in Accra.

The facilities, when operationalised, he explained, are expected to maintain higher standards of fuel quality in the region, thereby improving on regulatory monitoring and compliance.

“The Energy Ministry will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders including the Ghana Navy, NPA, the Ghana Maritime Authority, the Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority, the Marine Police and EPA to ensure the smooth implementation of these plans” he said.

Highlighting on the preparations to meet the International Maritime Organization’s global Sulphur cap which comes into force from January 2020, he stated: “we cannot gloss over the fact that we need cleaner fuels to guarantee a better environment for all. We look to achieve an 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from ships by the year 2050.  However industry players must avert their minds to some of the consequences of the sulphur cap implementation, which may include higher bunker bills and the need for increased liquidity in order to stay in business.”

The construction of GOIL’s 13.5 million litre marine gas oil storage facility at the Takoradi Port and its 4 million litre storage facility at the Sekondi Naval base to ensure regular and reliable supply of products has strongly position Ghana as a destination of choice for bunkering activities in the sub region.

A sales executive of Petrospot, organisers of the conference, Mr. Osei Mitchell, said bunkering forms an integral part of the shipping industry.

“Obviously every ship that operates, need to run on fuel and bunkering forms part of the ship-to-ship fuel transfer business. We have consistently hosted this conference here because Ghana is growing steadily in the ship-to-ship transfer market” he said.

Maritime Week Africa is the most popular Bunkering/Marine Fuels event in Africa.  The event has been hosted for 10 years, and this is the 5th time the conference is being hosted in Ghana in partnership with the Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL).

Each year, the conference brings together local bunker suppliers and regulators with international traders and buyers aiming to develop businesses in Africa.

Within the past 10 years, Maritime Week Africa has successfully facilitated business partnerships and fostered trading activity between sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world.

To date, 196 companies have benefitted from the event which has built a reputation for enabling individuals to meet important new contacts and build new, strong and lasting business relationships.

By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe