Maritime Security

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ISPS Compliance

The GMA superintends over the Ghana Maritime Security Act, 2004 (Act 675) to ensure the safety and security of ships and port facilities. Act 675 implements the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. The ISPS Code was developed by the International maritime community to provide a system for securing maritime terminals. Pursuant to the Act Documents of Compliance were issued to the ports of Tema and Takoradi. ISPS audits were carried out at the ports of Tema and Takoradi as well as on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah by a Recognised Security Organization (RSO) appointed by the GMA. The audit recommendations have been implemented by the operators of these facilities resulting in the renewal of the Document of Compliance for the Tema and Takoradi ports as well as the issuance of an interim ISPS document of compliance for FPSO Kwame Nkrumah. The ISPS Compliance has created a positive environment for ships to call at our ports and the offshore terminal thereby facilitating Ghana’s international seaborne trade.

Maritime Domain Awareness Programme

To assist government and security agencies to enforce security measures in our maritime domain, the GMA has initiated action to implement a Maritime Domain Awareness Programme. This programme is designed to ensure availability of comprehensive information about Ghana’s maritime domain through electronic surveillance systems.

Vessel Traffic Management Information System (VTMIS)

The GMA, under the auspices of the Ministry of Transport, obtained Parliamentary approval for a Finnish concessional loan facility of 16,625,835 Euros to procure, install and operate a VTMIS for the purposes of establishing a 24 hour electronic surveillance and monitoring of Ghana’s coastline including the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to ensure the protection of our maritime resources as well as offshore installations, oil terminals, gas pipelines and prevention of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, piracy and prevention of ship source pollution.

The Contract Agreement for the project was signed on February 9, 2011 between the Ghana Maritime Authority / Ministry of Transport and ELTEL Networks Corporation of Finland.

The VTMIS consists of the following:

  • An integrated system comprising of eight (8) Remote Sensor Sites to be sited along the entire coast of Ghana from Keta to Half Assini.
  • Three (3) Remote Base Stations (RBS) along the Volta Lake (for the inland waterways)
  • Three (3) manned Area Control Centres (ACC) for the west, central and east sectors, and one (1) National Control Centre (NCC).
  • The Remote Sensor Sites will each have communication Towers and equipped with marine radars, Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and CCTVs for detecting and identifying ships and boats. Marine communication radio equipment with MF/HF and VHF frequencies and in compliance with the International Maritime Organization(IMO) mandated Global Maritime Safety and Distress Systems (GMDSS) and Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) requirements for receiving regular ship reports will also be installed.
  • The Remote Sensor Sites will be equipped with meteorological and hydrological sensors to provide local weather data from the respective sites which will be transferred to the Control Centres for broadcasting.
  • All data from the Remote Sites would be transferred to the manned Control Centres where operators will have display screens depicting vessel traffic. In addition there will be provision for ten (10) Monitoring Stations (MS) for selected stakeholders such as the National Security, Fisheries Commission, Narcotics Control Board, Ghana Immigration Service, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Ports Harbours Authority, Regional Maritime University and others to have a display each for monitoring vessel traffic.


The 8 remote sensor sites along the coast have been identified and survey and soil tests carried out by engineers. The identified sites are Keta, Big Ada, Tema, Winneba, Cape Coast, Takoradi, Axim and Half Assini.

Benefits of the VTMIS

Among the benefits that Ghana will derive from the implementation of the VTMIS are:

  • Improve security and safety of navigation and environmental protection in relation to ship source pollution.
  • Assist competent authorities to deter illicit transaction of goods, particularly drugs and unauthorized movements within Ghanaian waters.
  • Provide facilities for continuous monitoring of vessel movements around submerged gas pipelines.
  • Enhance the protection of fish spawning and feeding grounds by continuous monitoring and also guard against IUU fishing.
  • Ghana ports will have early awareness of arriving vessels to improve port operational efficiency.
  • Ghana will now be able to participate fully in the GMDSS and in the Global ship reporting system using the LRIT as mandated by IMO.
  • Improve coordination in maritime Search And Rescue (SAR) and enable Ghana to fulfil her commitment under the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue SAR Convention.
  • Assist the Ghana Maritime Authority to enforce maritime laws within Ghanaian waters.


As part of the VTMIS implementation, a total of fifty (50) class ‘B’ AIS transponders and five (5) class ‘A’ AIS transponders are to be deployed on non- conventional and conventional ships respectively. This will automatically identify vessels within the Ghanaian waters. The necessary information about the VTMIS communication equipment have been submitted to NCA together with application forms for license and allocation of transmission frequencies


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