Zoil Services Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Zoomlion has dispatched a 23-man delegation made up of experts in the marine industry including selected local fishermen to have first-hand information on the manufacturing process of fibre glass boats in India, as an alternative for wooden boats plying the various water bodies in the country.
Among the team are personnel drawn from Zoil Service,personnel from the Ghana Private Lake Transport Union, senior technicians, selected chief fishermen, officials from the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), District Chief Executives (DCEs) from some fishing communities in the country, as well as some civil servants from the Ghana Fisheries Commission.
According to Zoil Services, the idea was mooted to save the country’s forest cover which falls in line with the Government’s Greening Ghana Project, from total extinction. Currently, 6.7m hectares of the country’s forest cover have been depleted with the remaining 1.5m hectares, still under pressure.
The delegation was met on arrival by officials of KS Group, a local company that is into agriculture, small scale enterprise, food processing, waste management, power transmission, infrastructure development, roads, railways & ports among many others. The Group has huge presence in Africa and is currently in partnership with ZoomLion Ghana Limited for various developmental projects.
To have an introspect of the fibroglass business, the delegation was taking to Fibroplast, a leading Indian boat manufacturers and marine solutions to inspect samples of boat products made from fiber glass.
There, the delegation had the opportunity to interact with officials of the company led by their Chairman, Harish C. Narula on best fishing practices around the world and how the fiber glass boats could be replicated in Ghana. They were also given the opportunity to make suggestions as to what type of boats will meet their demands.
A 30-minute power point presentation was made by the company to highlight some of its manufactured products; the specifications they are working with, which crop of people are using their products as well as achievement made in the boat building business.
According to Narula, the idea of the fibre glass boat was borne out of the Tsunami disaster which claimed thousands of lives in December 2004.
“After the Tsunami in December 2004, Fibroplast developed the latest design – Fibreglass fishing boats, while maintaining the features and stability of the traditional wooden boats.”
The Chairman of the Fisheries Commission, Mike Akyeampong commenting on the visit said “The fishing industry is being abused and weare at the steering wheel of our destiny. Therefore, there is the need to strive hard to address the numerous challenges that we are facing in the fishing industry. Replacement of our boats with more efficient ones like the fibre glass boats will help save lives and cut down cost.”
The Volta Regional Manager of Zoil Services Ghana Limited, Anthony Adzomani in an interview with The Chronicle said the initiative being pursued was identified by his outfit following a research it conducted that “there is an adverse effect on boat manufacturing using wood on our forest in Ghana.”
According to him, there is the need for alternative wooden boats because of the depleting nature of the country’s forest cover.
“We need to preserve our forest. We have to diverse our wooden boats to the use of fibre glass boats and that is why Zoil Services has brought these boat owners to India to see for themselves and also make their own specifications to suit their operations.”
He appealed to the fisher folks to embrace the idea of using the fibre glass boats and consider the amount of wood lost each time a boat is made. “They should embrace the concept fully,” he added.
Nii Abiala II, Chorkor Chief Fisherman known in private as Iddrisu Kotei Neequaye also in an interview with the media applauded the efforts being made by Zoil Services to find an alternative boats for the wooden boats currently being used all over the country. He appealed to the government to enforce all existing laws in the fishing industry with regards to the new technology it is currently pursuing.
“It is about time government took the issue of replacing the wooden boats with fiber glass boats seriously to save our forests from dying,” he added.