The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has introduced an electronic gating (E-Gate) system that allows only biometrically verified persons into the port space.
The clock-in system requires all persons entering the port to clock in using turnstile at the electronic gate.
It ensures that the biometric data of all port users are generated with time- stamp codes.
It also seeks to keep managers of the port abreast of the number of people at the facility at any particular time.
The Director of the port, Mr Jacob Kobla Adorkor, explained that the introduction of the E-Gate system was in line with the GPHA’s quest to strengthen security at the country’s ports.
He told the Daily Graphic in an interview in Tema yesterday that crew members of vessels calling at the port would also be screened to prevent infiltrators from entering it.
Mr Adorkor said the GPHA had also initiated processes to install walk-through body scanners at the Tema Port as a means of suppressing potential security risks in the port environment.
The first three of the yet-to-be-procured scanners would be installed at the main port, the headquarters and head office buildings, which Mr Adorkor said were vital to the safety and security of ships, personnel and cargoes.
He added that although the GPHA had introduced automated security checks at all entries into the port, the installation of the body scanners had become necessary in the wake of activities of terror groups.
The installation of the body scanners, Mr Adorkor said, would complement the already biometric verification system which allowed visitors into the port space to be verified and their images captured on camera.
“The security of the port cannot be toyed with, considering its strategic importance to the country’s economy and the essential services it provides for international trade,” Mr Adorkor stated.
Maritime security, Mr Adorkor said, had gone beyond stowaway and armed robbery to piracy and terrorism where armed gangs now attacked shipping interests.
“It is for this reason that ship and terminal security has become necessary, and the authority’s patrol boat’s 24-hour patrolling duties on the anchorage will still be in force,” he added.
Mr Adorkor was of the view that small boat operations within the anchorage and the country’s territorial waters could also be a recipe for terrorist activities.
“Their operations could pose serious threats to container vessels, cruise ships or petro-chemical facilities at the port, hence our quest to mitigate the danger, with the deployment of our own patrol services,” he said.
“When a vessel is calling at the port, we know everything about it before it gets here, but when it comes to small boats, nobody knows a lot about them; hence, the need to monitor suspicious movements of such boats in our waters to avert any imminent disaster,” Mr Adorkor said.
He expressed the hope that the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) and the Ghana Navy (responsible for the country’s territorial waters) would come up with modalities for monitoring to be done by all stakeholders in the maritime sector, so as to minimise the effect terror activities could have on the count