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31 Jul 2023


Ghana: Mysterious disappearance of fishing observer on Chinese crawler in 2019 remains unsolved

"Ghanaian fishing observer on Chinese crawler who mysteriously disappeared in 2019 yet to be found" 31 July 2023

July 5, 2019, was an ordinary work day for Emmanuel Essien...Essien left his family for work on the Meng Xin 15 vessel as a fishing observer for Ghana’s Fisheries Commission. He was last seen on the vessel between 9 pm and 10:30 pm. And that was the last day Essien was at work. He disappeared, no traces. At the time of writing, no one including his wife and two children has seen him since July 5, four years ago.


The pace of investigation into the incident is rather very slow. Ghana’s media house Joynews filed a Right To Information (RTI) request at the Office of the Attorney General asking about the progress of the investigation. According to the office, they have submitted their advice as well as the docket to the police since November 2021. It is worth noting that, the initial Police report indicated that there were signs of crime in the disappearance of Essien. And though, three people have been implicated and have been investigated, the matter has yet to be resolved...

According to Ghanaian law, in order to pronounce someone dead or to bring charges for their disappearance, authorities need to have a body. Andsince Essien’s body is yet to be recovered, this could be a possible hindrance to prosecution.

Part of the following timelines

Ghana: Fishing observer goes missing on trawler owned by Dalian Meng Xin Ocean Fisheries

China's distant-water fishing fleet raises concern over labour rights and commercial sustainability