Develop safety policies for challenges in maritime domain- Minister urges GMA, GSA boards

BY: News Desk Report
Kwaku Ofori Asiamah (right),  Minister of Transport, inaugurating the board
Kwaku Ofori Asiamah (right), Minister of Transport, inaugurating the board

The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has charged the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) and the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) to collaborate and spearhead the development of new policies capable of resolving the safety issues on the country’s maritime domain.

The safety of Ghana's martime domain, he noted, was in the hands of the GMA and the GSA, stressing that these two bodies were to be proactive in dealing with the myriad of challenges currently confronting the domain.

Policies

According to him, although there existed a number of policies or regulations that sought to protect Ghana's maritime domain, they were not strong enough, considering the development of new safety challenges.

 Mr Asiamah made this observation in Accra last Friday when he inaugurated the reconstituted Board of Directors of four key agencies under the Ministry of Transport namely the  Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA).

Unregulated fishing

He said safety challenges such as piracy, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, illegal bunkering, ship-to-ship transfers, drug trafficking, pollution, transnational crimes, smuggling, absence of regulation for inland waterways and unchartered navigational fare ways were critical issues that needed immediate attention.

The situation, he noted, had a trigger effect on the cost of doing business in Ghana's maritime domain and making it very expensive.

In pursuing the task, the minister underscored the need for GMA and the GSA to deepen their collaboration with the civil society organisations (CSOs) with expertise in maritime issues, academia and organisations outside the country, in order to come out with a comprehensive policy framework in that direction.

Commenting further, the minister of transport urged the GMA and GSA to, also, critically 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 in addressing the challenges at hand.

Strong relationship

He said once he had also assumed the role as a chair of MOWCA, he would ensure that Ghana also deepened its relationship with other countries and fostered partnerships in dealing with the myriad of challenges currently prevailing in the country's maritime domain.

Another issue of critical concern, he noted, was the development of adequate rules and regulations to guide the country’s maritime domain.

The Board Chair of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Madam Stella Wilson, speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors of GMA, 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”.

He said members of the board had noted with keen interest what the minister had said, adding that “ 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”.