Tema — The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has taken delivery of a seven million Euro, 60 tonnes Azimuth tugboat to augment its marine operations. The tugboat, MV Vice Admiral Owusu Ansah, arrived at the Tema Port on Thursday 14th February.
A source at the Tema Port revealed to The Chronicle that the said tugboat, which is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, is one of three marine craft the authority had procured to meet the challenges that would confront them, especially when the Tema Port expansion takes place this year.
The other craft, MV Cletus Adugbire, a security patrol boat with a speed of 35 nautical miles per hour at 1.8 million Euro, and MV Gakpo, a pilot boat at 1.2 million Euros, brings the total investment on the three marine craft to 10 million Euros.
The Azimuth tugboat, Vice Admiral Owusu Ansah, is so powerful that when the need arises, it could turn 360 degrees at the same position, and has been equipped to fight marine fires from a distance.
The presence of the new tugboat, The Chronicle discovered, will give shipowners the needed confidence to do business with the Tema Port, more so when the turnaround time is going to reduce drastically, especially when bigger vessels as long as 300 metres, with drafts between 14 and 16 metres, are expected to dock at the Tema Port after the expansion.
On the security patrol boat, MV Cletus Adugbire, The Chronicle was told that it would patrol the main port and anchorage, in order to ward off activities of pirates, and also undertake rescue operations at sea.
On why the boats were named so, we got to know that it was to honour the late Vice Admiral Owusu Ansah, who was one of the pillars behind the present commercial status of the GPHA.
According to sources at the Port Authority, Vice Admiral Owusu Ansah became the first Director-General of the authority, after the merger of the Ghana Ports Authority (GPA), Ghana Cargo Handling Company (GCHC) and Takoradi Lightrate, to form the present GPHA .This was at the time of the Economic Recovery Programme phases 1and 2.
The late Vice Admiral, even though down to earth, was very strict and a disciplinarian, and the success story at GPHA followed him to the then Tema Shipyard and Drydock Corporation, (TSDC) where he turned the fortunes of the yard into an enviable one.
Vice Admiral Owusu Ansah, once the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), died in early 2009, at the time he was made a member of the transition team of the late Professor John Evans Atta Mills.
Cletus Adugbire was also a diligent port security officer who was clubbed to death two years ago at the Tema fishing Harbour by a criminal, who the security officer earlier prevented from gaining access into the port, while Gakpo also died last year on duty at the Golden Jubilee Terminal.
MV Cletus Adugbire and MV Gakpo are expected to dock at the Tema port to join the fleet of marine craft in March and April this year respectively.