GMA & RMU
GMA & RMU

Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) in collaboration with the Regional Maritime University (RMU) has marked this year’s World Maritime Day successfully in Accra, with the readiness of ensuring safety and efficient maritime transportation system.

According to the Minister for Transport Hon Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Ports are viewed as critical infrastructure and their security is a facet of national security.

An estimated 90% of African imports and exports are conducted by sea transport and efforts are being made to place maritime development at a high position in the POST 2015 Development Agenda.

Adding that, the maritime sector plays a significant role in creating conditions for prosperity and stability ashore through a trade by sea.

“According to reliable statistics, there are more than 50, 00 merchant ships trading internationally, transporting every kind of cargo”, he noted.

The Director General of Ghana Maritime Authority Mr. Kwame Owusu, hinted that maritime industry is one of the most specialized and internationalized industries.

According to him, the global economy today, depends on shipping as a prime facilitator with 90% of world trade being carried by international shipping industry.
It in this regard, International Maritime Organization (IMO), United Nations agency has a strong commitment to helping achieve the SDGs.

This he said, Shipping and Ports play a significant role in helping to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability through maritime trade.

According him, Ghana Maritime, Authority is taking steps to introduce legislation that seeks to encourage Ghanaian participation in the shipping industry, including the offshore oil and gas sectors. “To this end, a draft Cabotage legislation has been prepared and will soon be submitted for stakeholders’ discussion and Parliamentary consideration.

This legislation will reserve trading activities in Ghanaian waters for only Ghanaian registered vessels that are built in Ghana, owned by Ghanaians and manned by Ghanaian seafarers.

It is our expectation that the Cabotage regime will restrict the use of foreign vessels in our domestic coastal trade and promote the development of indigenous tonnage”, he explained.

Additionally, the Ghana Maritime Authority, has drafted a Shipping Services Providers Regulations that will again be submitted to stakeholders’ for a consultation and eventually be submitted to Parliament for enactment.

According Mr. Owusu, the draft is intended to regulate the activities of shipping service providers with a view of ensuring an efficient, cost effective and orderly provision of shipping services.

This he said, the Ghana Maritime Authority will continue to collaborate with the Regional Maritime University to ensure that the training and certification of Ghanaian seafarers are conducted in accordance with highest international standards in order to give them an advantage in the international maritime labour market.

The Managing Consultant of Shipman Consult Dr. Kofi Mbiam, also disclosed that in the 2016, the pace of growth in total seaborne trade slowed down compared to recent average but grew by 2.1% recording 10 billion tons of cargo moved across the oceans. According to him, the recent decision of ITLOS in respect of the maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Cote Divoire which went in favour of Ghana , places more onerous duty on the Ghana Maritime Authority in respect of its role regarding, maritime safety , security and the protection of the marine environment from pollution.

As the potential for increased exploitation of Ghana’s oil and gas resources increases so does the potential for increased risk of catastrophic pollution. The Authority would therefore have to put in place measures that make Ghana equipped to teeth in dealing with all forms of pollution likely to have impact on the marine environment.

The World Maritime Day was set aside by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Specialized Agency responsible for regulating international shipping to recognize the contribution of the maritime industry to global economic development.
This year’s occasion was themed: Connecting Ships, Ports and People and People. “

By: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/NewsGhana.com.gh

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