The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Hon. Hawa Koomson, together with her Deputy Minister conducted a Quayside inspection at the Tema Fishing Harbour on the 16th December, 2022 on two vessels; Long Xiang 607 and Long Xiang 609 which berth at the Port on the 16th December, 2022. Quayside inspections are regular inspections conducted when a vessel is either ready to leave for sea, or berths at the harbour. These inspections are standard procedures to make sure the vessels follow all requirement before going on sea, or to make sure vessels that berth, have followed all standard procedures while on sea. Therefore, the Honorable Ministers were at the Fishing Harbour to make sure the vessels that have berth, and those ready to depart are all in order and have followed all protocol and requirements. This inspection was done to make sure vessels followed the Ministerial Directive on the use of fishing gear by industrial trawl vessels which was issued by Hon. Hawa Koomson, and has been in full force since September 1, 2022.
PURPOSE OF THE VISIT
The purpose of the visit, was to ensure that the vessels at berth used the appropriate fishing gears, also to make sure all documentation such as licensing of the vessel were in order, as well as to check the type of fish brought on board, also to make sure the fish were in the required sizes, and sorted out appropriately in their various sizes. The visit was also to conduct pre-departure inspection on five vessels which were ready to leave to sea.
The Ministers conducted the inspection in the company of Mr. Fred Kwasi Antwi- Boadu, the Executive Director of the Fisheries Commission, Mr. Paul Bannerman, the Deputy Executive director, Commodore Francis Nyarko the National Coordinator of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit, the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU), which comprises of Fisheries Officers from the Monitoring Control and Surveillance Division (MCSD), the Fisheries Scientific Survey Division (FSSD), as well as the Marine Police and the Navy, and Mr. Samuel Quartey, the Technical Adviser to the Honorable Minister.
ACTIVITIES OF THE DAY
The inspection of the first vessel Long Xiang 607 began at about 9:15am. At the arrival of the Minister, officers from the MCSD briefed the Honorable Minister about the activities for the day. The observer for the first vessel was invited to explain his report he presented, and difficulties he encountered on sea. He stated that he ensured that the appropriate net was used for fishing, and the fishes were sorted in their required sizes.
The first place of inspection was the bridge, where the Honorable Minister inspected the documentation of the vessel. After the inspection of documents, the Honorable Minister, and the team proceeded to inspect the maintenance of the vessel, they inspected the safety equipment that were required to be on the vessel, as well as the hygienic conditions of the vessel. The Honorable Minister asked that the life jackets on board be counted, it was the exact number for the crew that were on board, and some surplus was recorded as well.
The team with the Honorable Minister proceeded to inspect the Hatch, which is where the fish are stored. At the Hatch, samples of fish were brought out for inspection to make sure the appropriate type and sizes of fish was what was brought onboard. The Honorable Minister, was very impressed with the sizes and how the fish had been sorted, and commended the captain and his crew for a good work done with the catch. However, The Honorable Minister instructed that discharge of the fish should start in her presence.
While the first vessel was still discharging the fish, the second vessel Long Xiang 609 was ready for inspection at about 12:44pm. The Deputy Minister, Hon. Moses Anim joined the Honorable Minister, and the rest of the team for the inspection. Before the inspection, the observer for the vessel was called in to render some explanation just as done on the first vessel. The Honorable Ministers and the team proceeded to the bridge of the vessel to check if all documentations of the vessels were in order. The maintenance, and all other safety measures required were checked. However, the life jacket had exactly the number for crew members on board with only one surplus, the Honorable Ministers sent a caution to the captain of the vessels, they asked that there should be more surplus, just in case of any emergency.
The Honorable Ministers, and the team proceeded to the Hatch for the inspection of the fish caught. They were impressed with the catch made, but admonished that the crew could have done better.
The Honorable Ministers asked that discharge began in their presence, and under their supervision.
While the Honorable Ministers supervised the discharge of the fish, the Technical Advisor to the Minister Mr. Samuel Quartey, in the company of the some staff of FEU proceeded to conduct a pre-departure inspection on five vessels; Meng Xin 30, Meng Xin 8, Yuan Hai 607, Florence 2, and Comforter 2, which were ready to be on sea. However, in order for the Ministerial Directive on gears to be strictly followed, the team took away all old nets which were found on board of the vessels that were not required according to the Ministerial Directive. This will help the crew on the vessel not to be tempted to use the inappropriate nets to fish.
It was observed that, the inspection was relatively interactive and open. There was usually a language barrier between the team and the Captain and some of the crew members who were not Ghanaians. The agents of the vessels usually resorted to either making signs or spoke “broken’’ English or Chinese, as a means of communicating with the Captain and the crew who were non-Ghanaians.
Moving forward, adequate preparation should be put in place for an interpreter by the management of the vessel. The agents of the vessels who are liaisons between the vessel owners, crew and the team usually do not understand the Chinese language to be able to explain better to the Captain and his crew who are not Ghanaians what the Honorable Ministers and the team require from them, especially what they will require of them to do better. It is therefore prudent to have someone on board who understood Chinese and English language to the latter, because some of the information given require in-depth explanation, in order for the other party to comprehend and follow. Therefore if there are no interpreters on board to bridge this gap, communication becomes relatively impossible and difficult.
At the end of the inspection, a fisheries officer gave a closing remark and appreciated the presence of the Honorable Ministers, and all protocol observed. The Honorable Minister responded to the remark by thanking everyone present for their efforts in making the inspection a success, and she emphasized that her presence at the inspections of vessels will be frequent, and in any case she is unable to attend any of the inspections, her Deputy Minister, Hon. Moses Anim will conduct the inspection. The entire inspection ended at 5:00pm.