Fuel smuggling ‘Dendeys’ to be clamped down – Maritime Authority
Large wooden vessels, commonly referred to as ‘Dendeys’ designed like fishing boats, are gaining disturbing prominence as smuggling vessels of petroleum products in a thriving illicit fuel trade along the Central and Western coastlines.
With capacity to carry heavy tonnes of fuel, these ‘night’ boats receive volumes of petroleum products from criminal tanker ships docked on the high seas, and afterwards discharge the load into waiting road fuel tankers, escaping fuel authorities and tax obligations.
In spite of the loss of revenue to the state, the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) is yet to acquire the legal power to do away with these boats. However, the Director-General of the GMA, Mr Thomas Kofi Alonsi says the Authority has started the process to obtain requisite court orders to enable the GMA, as the maritime industry’s regulator, undertake lawful arrests and destroy the boats.
According to him, the Dendeys are neither registered, licensed nor marked.
“The building of these boats is in violation of the GMA’s regulations because by law, they are required to obtain a permit from us to build such vessels. My officers here, however, tell me no one has ever applied for any such permit,” he said at an engagement with security chiefs at the Western Naval base.
Meeting with GMA’s Head of Marine Police, DCOP Iddi Seidu, Commodore E.A. Kwafo, the Acting Flag Officer of the Western Naval Command, recounted the risks posed by the Dendeys, saying it was urgent to stop the boat owners from using them to smuggle fuel, otherwise, they might begin to use their boats to cart other unlawful products such as weapons and drugs.
Meanwhile, some ships and Dendeys have been rounded up and seized, thanks to night patrols introduced by the GMA.
Aside generating revenue for the state, destruction of the boats would also take away the incentive to take part in fuel smuggling as well as protect fuel consumers from substandard products, the Head of the GMA at Takoradi, Captain William E. Thompson, noted.
Source: Energy Ghana