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Fight Against Pirates Making Ghana A Safe Haven For Vessels – Transport Minister   
 
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14-Oct-2019  
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The Minister of Transport, Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has said that government’s heavy investment in modern information systems and equipment to ensure the safety and security of Ghana’s territorial waters are already yielding results and boosting the image of the country.

For instance, he said the country through the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has in recently acquired five speed boats and two search and rescue boats to ensure safety within the country’s maritime space.

The vessels are to help clamp down on increasing spate of illicit and crime activities on Ghana’s territorial waters while the rescue boats are used for quick and effective evacuation of victims or survivors in case of emergency and accidents.

Similarly, the country has also invested significant amount of money in the upgrade of drastic traffic management information system which enables the monitoring of activities in the maritime space of the West African nation and beyond.

These tools enables effective and direct communication with captains of vessels to provide real time assistance in the event of pirate attacks.

With the tools, equipment and or machinery already in use, Hon. Ofori Asiamah said the country’s territorial waters are now safe and attracting lots of vessels.

“Ghana is therefore on course to becoming a safe haven for vessels in the sub-region. Due to such investments and the positive strives made over the years, we keep enjoying the attention of many other and regular vessels to dock and refuel in Ghana”, he noted.

Hon. Ofori Asiamah made this observation when addressing Justices of the Superior Courts of Ghana on the occasion of the 12th Maritime Law Seminar held on Accra on October 11-12, 2019.

The event held every two years was designed by the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) in collaboration with the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) to bring the about 70 Justices of the Superior Courts of Judicature together in order to deepen their understanding and knowledge on maritime related matters.

It was also to further enrich and strengthen justice delivery on maritime related cases.

Speaking further, he said government remains committed to position Ghana as the preferred destination for business in the West African sub-region, particularly, the shipping and logistics center since the maritime industry in the foreseeable future, will continue to remain the main driver of intra and international trade to stimulate growth and socio-economic development.

As a result of this, he said government in partnership with the private sector is investing heavily in port expansion both in Takoradi and in Tema.

“The ultra-modern MPS terminal which is equipped with the state of the art facilities and logistics has the capacity to receive bigger vessels is one example of such bigger investments government is pursuing.

The government has for the first time in the history of Ghana, given the opportunity for indigenous Ghanaian business people to develop the Takoradi port; a multi-purpose terminal to the tune of $450million. That is the commitment of the government”, he underscored.

He added “We believe that we cannot develop our infrastructure without the direct involvement of our people and we want to showcase that the Ghanaian indigenous people also has the capacity to develop”.

Delivering the keynote address at the Seminar, the Chief Justice of the land, Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo, urged the Justices to apprise themselves with maritime laws in the area of Ocean Governance and Maritime Trade since disputes and conflicts in these areas have become inevitable in the fast pace of technological advancement.

She said the constant and consistent upgrade of knowledge of judges to be abreast with the exigencies of time is a must and should not be taken for granted, if the country’s quest to become the hub of maritime activities in the sub-region is to be taken seriously.

“The advent of technology and increased globalization has introduced new challenges, thus triggering disputes that require new jurisprudence. To dispense commercial justice in the fast pace world of today, a greater number of judges must appreciate the peculiar nature of the industry in which maritime dispute arises”, she observed.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Ms. Gloria Akufo, on her part, reiterated the need for the judiciary to sharpen its skills in the maritime laws to forestall the creeping uneasiness along the coast due to the increasing discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities which is making dispute inevitable in the sector.

She therefore urged organizers of the training program to include some lawyers in the bi-annual program in order to ensure that both the Bench and the Bar are on the same page with regards to the maritime laws as well as the latest developments in the maritime sector.

Ms. Akufo also urged the faculties of law in the various universities in the country to consider introducing courses related to the maritime sector and its laws into their curriculum in order to raise lawyers with the requisite expertise in maritime issues and disputes.

The Chief Executive Officer of the GSA, Ms. Benonita Bismark, in her opening address, indicated that the constant training of the members of the judiciary on the current issues and laws concerning the maritime sector cannot be overemphasized.

According to her, Ghana has the potential to become the center of adjudication for maritime cases due to its strategic positioning and favorable business environment.


 





 
Source: Peacefmonline.com
 
 

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