Ecozoil, Transport Ministry Holds Graduation Ceremony For 500 Lifeguards In Tema (PICS)

Updated: May 31

Ecozoil, a subsidiary of Jospong Group of Companies in partnership with the Ministry of Transport has held a graduation ceremony for some 500 lifeguards at the Eastern Naval Command in Tema.

The graduation ceremony forms part of measures of training some youth to save lives of people who ply the Volta Lake.

The training of the 500 lifeguards was necessitated by the challenges associated with transportation on the Volta lake.

These challenges include absence of life jacket worn by commuters resulting in the lose of lives, consistent overloading of boat, unsanitary condition at the landing sites and lack of safety awareness.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group, Joseph Siaw Agyepong indicated that the project will help address such challenges and also provide jobs for the youth.

He said "The Volta Lake Transport Enhancement Project (VLTEP) was first launched in 2011 under Zoil Services Limited with the mandate to ensure the safety of Passengers along the Volta Lake, to provide life jackets to commuters and improve upon the sanitary conditions of the landing sites. The project contract period elapsed in 2015. After several evaluations, it was renewed in July 2021 and renamed Volta Lake Transport Safety Project with emphasis on the safety of commuters on the Volta Lake"

Touching on the several challenges associated with water transportation, he hinted plying the Volta Lake has become quite unattractive for many people.

"Among these challenges are, Absence of life jackets for commuters resulting in the loss of lives every now and then, Consistent overloading of boats, Unsanitary conditions of landing sites (piles of refuse heaps along the shores of the lakes) increasing the spread of diseases.

Dr. Siaw also mentioned the lack of safety awareness and health education as well as the presence of unemployed youth along the stretch as part of the challenges.

"In the light of these challenges, the Volta Lake Transport and Safety Project mainly seeks to employ the services of the youth from communities along the Lake and equip them with the basic skills in water survival and rescue operations to ensure the safety of commuters on the Volta Lake"

"It also seeks to maintain cleanliness at the various landing sites, provide safety education to both boat operators and commuters, as well as provide life jackets to commuters to protect them on the lake"

Speaking in partnership with Government and Employment Generation, he said "Today, we are going to witness the graduation ceremony of 500 youth drawn from the nine (9) regions identified and selected for the project"

He explained that the 470 young men and women had to undertake a six-week training in various subjects.

The CEO of Zoomlion Ghana revealed that the project is a Public Private Partnership between the Ministry of Transport and Ecozoil Ghana Limited as well as other stakeholders.

It covers nine (9) out of the sixteen (16) regions of Ghana and encompasses forty (40) Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

Sharing his thoughts on equipments, he said "Honourable Minister, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am happy to announce that, to ensure the effective execution of the above mandate we have acquired technologically advanced equipment to facilitate our work"

Mr. Siaw noted that over 150 human lives have been lost since 2011 to date.

"I sincerely thank the Minister for Transport,Hon. Kwaku Ofori -Asiamah for making time to be with us"

"My special appreciation also goes to the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu and the Flag Officer Commanding of the Eastern Naval Command, Commodore Emmanuel Ayensu Kwafo, officers and non-commissioned officers of the Eastern Naval Base for training the Life Guards making their facility available for the training course"

MR. Siaw charged the Life Guards, to always remember that what they have gone through is to empower them to do their best not just for the commuters but for Ghana."

"Do your best and let us all work together to make our water transport safer and the surroundings cleaner to save lives"

On his part, the Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah represented the Akufo-Addo government announced plans to support the inland water transport system.

He advised the lifeguards to be committed to ensuring safety on the lake.

The Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu on his part described the project as unprecedented and assured Ghanaians of the readiness of the Navy to ensure safety on Ghana’s territorial water bodies.

"The trained life guards are expected to be deployed in Akosombo, Gemeni, Abotuasi and other communities along the Volta Lake"

Some of the lifeguards who spoke to, thanked the leadership of Ecozoil and Zoomlion for such a great opportunity.

They promised to save more lives on the Volta lake.

Those who distinguished themselves during the training were also presented with special commendation Certificates for the their resilience.

Below are some pictures:

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith