The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has urged the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) and the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), two key agencies clothed with the responsibility of managing and regulating Ghana’s maritime sector, to collaborate and spearhead the development of new policies capable of resolving the safety issues in the country’s maritime space.
According to him, although there exists a number of policies or regulations that seek to protect Ghana’s maritime domain, they aren’t strong enough considering the development of new safety challenges.
He said safety challenges such as piracy; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; illegal bunkering; ship-to-ship transfers; drug trafficking; pollution; transnational crimes; smuggling; and absence of regulation for inland water ways and unchartered navigational fare ways are critical issues that need immediate attention.
He therefore advised the GMA and GSA to deepen their collaboration with civil society organisations (CSOs) with expertise in maritime issues, academia and organisations outside the country to come out with a comprehensive policy framework to protect the country’s maritime domain.
Mr. Asiamah made these observations in Accra on Friday when he inaugurated the re-constituted boards of directors of four key agencies under the Ministry of Transport: Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), and the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA).
Commenting further, the Transport Minister urged the GMA and GSA to critically also look at expanding physical infrastructure and the deployment of technology by deepening their relationship with the National Security, Navy, Marine Police and the Ministry of Communications.
Another issue of critical concern, Mr. Asiamah noted, was the development of adequate rules and regulations to guide the country’s maritime industry.
“I would propose that there should be a committee between GMA and GPHA, Shippers’ Authority, GIFF, GUTA and ship owners to come together to see how you can develop adequate rules and regulations to guide our industry. You should deal with these issues so that everybody will become confident. I don’t want anybody to be cheated,” he said.
The board chair of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Stella Wilson, speaking on behalf of the directors of GSA, said: “We are ready for the challenge and the task at hand. We have been entrusted with a responsibility and we’ve been called to action. We have noted with keen interest what the Minister has told us, and we are going to take our responsibility very seriously and make sure that those projects that we have been tasked to undertake, we work on them.”
She entreated all the directors to work as a team, stressing that their cooperation with management will enable them achieve success.