Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Guyana to beef up port security as oil bounty drives up marine traffic

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Since oil production began in 2019, Guyana’s marine traffic has increased exponentially, and its Maritime Administration (MARAD) is working to ensure that security at the ports is strengthened.

MARAD has turned to Chile through its Ambassador to Guyana, Juan Manuel Pino Vasquez for assistance in this regard and the two have started the ball rolling with a workshop that opened on Monday.

Guyana’s Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill who has responsibility for MARAD noted that the Agency will need significant investment and undergo an expansion to meet the challenge of protecting the country’s ports.

Edghill did not shy away from numerous incidents in the past when contraband was detected at the ports.

“I can tell you that our waterways are becoming busier by the day and the fact that our profile has been elevated, our risks have also been elevated so we have to ensure that our ports are very safe and today we are emphasising the issue of port security,” Edghill said.

Back in 2021, he said the Georgetown Port saw an average of 52 ships per week, up from seven before oil. That was with just the Liza Destiny floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel in operation. Now, a second oil platform – the Liza Unity – has been added.

“You are the ones who facilitate and provide services to ensure that our ports function effectively and safely, so you know exactly what I am talking about,” Edghill told MARAD staffers. “We have to do things better. We have to be more efficient. We have to be able to embrace international best practices.”

For MARAD to perform at its optimum, the Edghill explained that it would need an expanded marine fleet and even a helicopter to police Guyana’s maritime borders. A crucial part of this is investing in training. This is where Chile comes in.

Stabroek Block operator, ExxonMobil will be bringing on the Payara and Yellowtail FPSOs next while awaiting approval for the fifth development – Uaru.

These will bring even more support vessels to Guyana and more work for MARAD.

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