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Ghana Calls For Enforcement Of Maritime Regime In Sub-Region
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Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said shipping is indispensable to international trade as most countries worldwide rely on seaborne transport for export and import of goods and services.

He said it also played a significant role in the functioning of the global economy.

He also urged the West and Central African countries that had signed the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to co-operate effectively in ensuring the compliance and enforcement of the Port Sate Control regime.

Vice President Bawumia made the remarks at the opening of the Third Ministerial Conference of Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control (PSC) for West and Central Africa, in Accra, on Wednesday

He encouraged them to tighten measures whenever they were carrying out port control inspections on ships that berthed at their seaports for business transactions to ensure that only seaworthy ships operating in accordance with the standards set in the maritime safety, security and marine environment pollution prevention would be entertained.

The maritime conference was jointly organised by the Ministry of Transport, the Ghana Maritime Authority and the Abuja MoU Secretariat on the theme: ‘‘Tightening the Net: Regional Co-operation to Eliminate Sub-Standard Shipping”.

It brought together maritime administrators, policy-makers and maritime experts from the West and Central African sub-region, to brainstorm on strategies to improve maritime safety and to help eliminate sub-standard shipping.

The MoU on PSC was signed in 1999 in Abuja, Nigeria and covers 22 countries stretching from Mauritania, Cape Verde, Cote, d’lvoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe to South Africa.

So far, 15 of those countries are now full members of the MoU.
The Abuja MoU basically provides for the inspection of foreign ships in other national ports to determine the compliance level of the ships with the requirements of international conventions and codes governing maritime safety, marine pollution and the living and working conditions of seafarers on board.

Vice President Bawumia said 90 per cent of African import and export was conducted by maritime transport and considered most energy efficient and sustainable means of transport.

Therefore, the Government of Ghana accepted to play host to the conference as a test to her commitment to regional and international co-operation and resolved to collaborate in enhancing global maritime trade.

“We are here today because we share a common interest and common purpose because we are all coastal states endowed with huge marine natural resources.

With this lesson, it is our responsibility to protect our marine environment from pollution,” he said.

Dr Bawumia told the gathering that, it was the responsibility of the member countries to promote improved living conditions of shipboard officers and crew to work efficiently towards achieving the objectives of the Abuja MoU.

He said promotion of seaborne trade was fundamentally important to sustainable growth as outlined in the African Union’s 2015 Integrated Maritime Strategy.

The Vice President noted that compliance with the Port Control measures by the member countries would help in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring sustainable development of the sub-region.

He applauded the International Maritime Organisation for its invaluable assistance in the development of sub-regional capacity for ensuring safe and secured maritime environment.

Mr Kwaku Ofori-Asiamah, the Minister of Transport, in his welcome address, said maritime transport was the backbone of international trade and central to sustainable global socio-economic development and growth.

He said over the years, the growth in international trade and the servicing requirements of modern logistics system, especially the shipping chain placed increasing pressure on profits of ship owners.
Therefore, some ship owners in their quest for profits adopted strategies aimed at evading and undermining international best practices.

In that regard, he said the International Maritime Organisation had adopted regulations and standards in international instruments such as SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW as well as the International Labour Organisation’s Maritime Labour Convention to create a level playing field for ships to operate in a safe, secure and efficient manner.

He said the Accra Conference was expected to help find solutions to various challenges faced in the sub-region with regards to the effective implementation of Port State Control procedures by working together and joining forces in data sharing, access to information, transparency, uniform and effective implementation of standards

Mr Asiamah, therefore, urged member countries to re-affirm their commitment geared towards achieving the objectives of the Abuja MoU.
Source: GNA

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