The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is in the Central Region, courting the support of influencers to curb an imminent danger around the Saltpond Oil Fields decommissioning area.
The engagement, led by the Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations Division (SSR), became necessary because some fishermen are blatantly defying the safety precautions and directives from the Navy and the GNPC to stay away from fishing in the 500 metres Exclusive Zone in the project area.
The fishing activities are portended to compromise safety and security in the area as they are already causing interference in the execution of the project.
Deputy Manager, Social Performance and Local Content, Ms Patience Lartey, in all the engagements, has been reiterating the importance of respecting the exclusive zone directives by all fishermen.
In the latest meeting with the chief fishermen, political heads and opinion leaders of the area, she highlighted that the fishermen risk losing their lives and properties through their activities.
“We don’t want the fishermen to encroach the area because the project ongoing in the area is dangerous. Machines are working in the area and it is unsafe for the fishermen numbering about 10 in a canoe to ply under the machines. Should any metal fall off into the canoe the boat is likely to capsize and the people likely to perish.”
Ms Patience Lartey also mentioned that the gas component of the oil explored may have long-term effects on the health of the fishermen who invade the area and yet without protection.
“All the pillars of the rig you see are deep-seated in the bed are wells. It is likely that there would no longer be oil exploration from the area, but that does not mean the oil there is depleted.
“From time to time the operations may require the opening of the oil coverings. The oil has its gas component called hydrocarbons which escape when coverings are opened. So when you invade the area and you inhale this gas you don’t know what the long-term effects will be,” she added in her caution statement to the stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the Municipal Chief Executive for Mfantseman, Ike Lord Ennu, has said his assembly is equally not happy about the development and thus implored his fellow assembly members to ensure the menace is curbed.