Maritime experts from the West African sub-region are attending a workshop in Accra to deepen their understanding of the Hong Kong Convention on safe recycling of ships.
This is to encourage the wide adoption of the convention that places responsibilities on countries to ratify the instrument and implement the provisions for safe and environmentally sound recycling of vessels.
Congo, France, Belgium, Panama and Norway are the only countries that have ratified the convention since it was adopted by the global community in 2009.
Ship and other marine vessels have a lifespan ranging from 20 to 30 years after which it is economically unwise to use it because of high cost of operations.
Whereas some advanced countries have found best ways of disposing vessels, most developing countries abandon them in shallow waters posing risk to marine life and the environment.
Addressing the participants at the workshop organised by the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) and International Maritime Organisation (IMO)Jun Sun, Technical Officer of IMO, said legal regimes that prevent the coasts from being littered with shipwrecks were non existent.
“…or even where there is some resemblance of a legal regime the enforcement also becomes a problem,” he added.
Fifi Kwetei, Minister of Transport, in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Director Mr. Twumansi Ankrah-Selby, said Ghana supports efforts being made by the IMO to promote ratification of the convention.
The minister urged countries to “take urgent steps” to ratify the convention and incorporate the provisions into their national legislations for effective enforcement.
He said maritime industry played significant role in global economy accounting for 90 per cent of global commerce through marine transport.
The Technical Director of GMA, Adaangiak Akanteyam, saying “…virtually nothing goes waste in ship recycling…all the materials and equipment can be reused”.
Additionally, he said steel could be made from hulls of recycled ships at cheaper cost compared to that produced from raw materials as only one-third of the energy was required in producing the steel.
Captain Hannah Aggrey, board member of GMA, urged the participants to encourage their countries to ratify the convention and implement the provisions.
The participants to the three-day workshop are from Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe.
By Salifu Abdul -Rahaman