July 19, 2024
P.O.Box 613ER Gombilla House, Lamashegu Market, Tamale, Northern Region

Another Ghanaian fisheries observer missing

Another Ghanaian fisheries observer has disappeared again. Samuel Abayitey was aboard a tuna vessel, Marine 707. 

His work was part of a government effort to regulate over-fishing and other illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices by some trawlers, which has driven small pelagic fish, the staple diet of the coastal region, to the verge of collapse.

Since his disappearance about two weeks ago, there hasn’t been any information from the crew manager, the Fisheries Commission, the vessel owners, or other relevant stakeholders.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has confirmed the incident to JoyNews. The Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Moses Annim, says the ministry is investigating the matter.

“It has come to our attention, and we have launched an investigation into the matter. We will get to the bottom of the matter,” he stated.

This is not the first time a Ghanaian fisheries observer has gone missing. Ghana is yet to find Emmanuel Essien, who disappeared in 2019.

On June 24, 2019, Emmanuel Essien, 28, was on board the Chinese trawler Jin Hao 608, when he captured video of the crew engaging in Saiko, the illegal transfer of fish from a trawler to a large canoe.

Two weeks later, on July 5, 2019, Mr Essien went missing while working on the Meng Xin 15 vessel.

Before getting aboard the Meng Xin 15 vessel, he wrote a statement to the police to investigate the crew on the JinHao 608 vessel for engaging in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing practices.  

Essien’s family, including a young daughter and son, are struggling to make sense of his disappearance.

The family has on numerous occasions been calling on the government to help them find their relative.

After three years, the Marine Police Division of the Ghana Police Service has no information on Essien’s whereabouts or what led to his disappearance.

Initial police reports suggested there were no signs of a crime. Essien’s evidence could have meant a $1 million fine for the vessel’s captain.

At a media encounter on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, indicated that the police have finally concluded the probe into the matter and some new suspects have emerged.

“I wrote a letter under my signature to the IGP, and they have responded. The Tema police have completed their investigations, and they have sent a duplicate case docket to the Attorney-General for study and advice. The AG upon study directed that they need to do further interrogation of three persons; Isaac Cudjoe, Dziwornu Ahabile and Antony Asiedu.

“They have done the further interrogation and have submitted this update to the Attorney-General and in about three weeks, the Attorney-General will come out with its final advice on this docket,” he said.

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