The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has clarified circumstances surrounding a heated misunderstanding between its security and some Immigration officers.

GPHA has said it takes full responsibility for the actions of the security personnel involved, who have since been reprimanded.

The incident began when the GPHA security team insisted on searching the GIS female officers after they completed their duties on the vessel.

Inspector Benjamin Nketia objected, permitting only the search of their bags and refusing a personal search of the officers.

According to him, male personnel should not search female officers under any circumstances.

But GPHA security opposed the decision, resulting in an exchange of insults and physical harassment.

Following the confrontation on the vessel, the GPHA security officers went to the GIS office to arrest the officers for their non-compliance.

In a statement, GPHA said the altercation occurred on Monday, May 13, 2024, at approximately 6:30 pm on board MV MSC DYMPHNA and escalated to the immigration office at the terminal.

The incident stemmed from the immigration officersfailure to declare a package received from the vessel which contravenes Standard Operating Procedures established by the International Ships and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code and protocols. The insistence of GPHA security officials on adherence to security procedures led to the altercation

“While some media reports have sensationalised the incident, we recognise that it could have been handled more effectively to prevent escalation. GPHA prioritizes the safety and security of all stakeholders and condemns the behaviour displayed by both parties involved,” the statement explained.

The statement added that, management of GPHA met with representatives from Ghana Immigration Service and Ghana Maritime Authority to discuss the issue.

They have come to an amicable solution which includes, but not limited to periodic education and reorientation of all State Agencies in tandem with the evolving maritime security procedures and protocols

“Moving forward, we emphasize the importance of adherence to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and protocols by all State Agencies operating within our ports and urge all stakeholders to uphold the rules and regulations governing our ports and collaborate to preserve the integrity of our Ports,” it noted.

Below is the full statement: