Tema youth urges dialogue to address fishers, Port Authority furore

The Tema Youth Association, a youth group in the Tema Metropolis of the Greater Accra Region, has urged stakeholders in the area to use dialogue in resolving the cause of the recent canoe accident that led to the death of two fishermen.

The group has further called on the relevant authorities to engage in dialogue with the fishing community to address their concerns and work collaboratively towards improved safety measures on the waters.

“We believe that effective communication and cooperation between the maritime authorities and the fishing community is vital to fostering a safer and more secure environment for all stakeholders,” the group said.

The call was made in a statement signed and issued yesterday by the General Secretary of the Association, Marcus Larbie.

Two fishermen from Tema died at sea in the early hours of last Thursday, sparking a furore between fishers and port authorities over what caused their death.

The fishers, mostly from Tema Manhean (Newtown), claimed the two were part of 12 members who were on a ritual Homowo fishing expedition, when a patrol boat from the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) rammed into their canoe at the Tema Port anchorage, causing it to capsize.

But the GPHA denied that assertion, saying no such incident happened at sea.

The Association commended the Tema Metropolitan Security Committee (MESEC) and the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Yohanne Amarh Ashitey, for setting up a five-member committee to probe the circumstances that led to the incident.

“We understand that the Mayor of Tema is investigating the incident to determine the cause and circumstances surrounding the collision, whereas the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Tema East Constituency has tailored a written request before Parliament seeking national attention on this matter and evoking legislative sanctions to carry out further investigations and recommendations,” the statement said

The association said as the public awaited the findings of the investigative committee, it would encourage all relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent inquiry to ascertain accountability and ensure that measures were put in place to prevent such unfortunate incidents from recurring.

The canoe, Adesa Na Ohetsui, which translates: “Man be patient”, was carrying 12 fishermen, who were on a Homowo ritual fishing expedition with the backing of the Tema Traditional Council.

The statement said the traditional festival of Homowo held immense cultural significance for the people of Tema, adding that it was time for celebration and unity when members of the community come together to commemorate their heritage and give thanks for a bountiful harvest season.

It added that the two fishermen, who were among the 12 onboard the canoe, were entrusted with the task of providing fish for the festival by the Chief Fishermen; they were dedicated individuals known for their commitment to preserving and upholding our cultural practices.

The group said losing the two members of the community, especially in such tragic circumstances, was an immeasurable loss that would be felt deeply throughout the community.

The group, however, encouraged everyone in the community to come together to offer the needed support and stand in solidarity with the families affected by this tragedy during these challenging times.

Writer’s email: Benjamin.glover@graphic.com.gh