Search and Rescue Activities

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The GMA is mandated to coordinate maritime Search and Rescue activities in collaboration with other relevant agencies. In pursuance of this mandate the GMA with technical and equipment assistance from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has established a National Maritime SAR Coordinating Centre at Tema. The centre will be the focal point for providing assistance to persons in danger of being lost at sea and coordinate maritime search and rescue operations. This Centre is to be linked to the Regional Maritime SAR Coordinating Centre in Monrovia, Liberia to provide effective search and rescue coverage for the countries in the sub region.

Navigational Safety Notices
The GMA has concluded bilateral arrangements with the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) to publish hydrographic and safety information covering the Ghanaian coast on navigational charts for dissemination to ships. As part of this arrangement the GMA has obtained the co-ordinates of the various oil exploratory rigs and production installation and issued Navigational Safety Notices to mariners through UKHO concerning aids to navigation, the positioning and movements of oil rigs and offshore installations within Ghanaian maritime jurisdiction for publication.

Maritime Security (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. 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.

Area To Be Avoided (ATBA)
The GMA obtained approval from the IMO to establish an Area To Be Avoided (ATBA) around the Deep Water Port (DWP). The ATBA was established in order to further enhance safety of navigation and ensure security of both the offshore installations and vessel traffic management in the vicinity of the Jubilee Field Terminal. The ATBA would alert mariners to the presence of the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah as well as underwater well heads and production system to ensure that mariners including fishermen and vessels transiting the area will avoid interference with terminal operations at the Jubilee Fields.

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:

  1. An integrated system comprising of eight (8) Remote Sensor Sites to be sited along the entire coast of Ghana from Keta to Half Assini.
  2. Three (3) Remote Base Stations (RBS) along the Volta Lake (for the inland waterways)
  3. Three (3) manned Area Control Centres (ACC) for the west, central and east sectors, and one (1) National Control Centre (NCC).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.  


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