The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has collaborated with the International Maritime Organisation(IMO) to develop a national strategy to strengthen maritime security in the country.
The strategy, which is within the government’s overarching approach to national security, is before the relevant authorities for adoption.
According to the Director General of GMA, Thomas Alonsi, the strategy emphasises collaboration between state institutions and agencies as well as coastal states in the Gulf of Guinea and regional international organisations.
He was speaking at a maritime stakeholders’ forum in Accra, following a three-day visit of the Secretary-General of the IMO, Mr Kitack Lim, to Ghana.
The strategy, Mr Alonsi said would complement the National Maritime Security Committee, which was formed to address the development, relevance and acceptability of a National Maritime Security Framework, and to perform other related maritime security functions.
Enumerating some of the authority’s efforts to keep Ghana’s water safe and secure, Mr Alonsi stated that his outfit, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport, initiated a process, which resulted in the ratification by Ghana’s Parliament of additional international treaties.
They include the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001; 2005 Protocols to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Navigation and its Protocol relating to Fixed Platforms located on the Continental Shelf; Hong Kong international Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 and the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007.
The Instruments of ratification of these Conventions, the Director-General explained, were being prepared and would be deposited with IMO as required.
He said the GMA had procured seven vessels to effectively carry out its mandate by ensuring safety and security of vessels and the prevention of pollution of our waters as well as augment the efforts of the Ghana Navy and the Marine Police.
The Vessel Traffic Management Information System (VTMIS), which was established in 2014, to provide a 24 hour electronic surveillance and monitoring of Ghana’s entire coastline, and the exclusive economic zone, had increased the awareness of the country’s Maritime Domain leading to reduction in piracy and armed robbery in the waters, Mr Alonsi stated.
He said that the authority had also collaborated with the IMO to host key national and regional seminars and workshops for various IMO instruments, including the international Ship and Port Facility Security Code to build capacity and promote ratification of treaties and conventions within the sub region.
Mr Lim commended Ghana for her stellar efforts in coordinating and promoting activities within the sun region to ensure safety and security in the maritime industry.
He said Ghana’s leading role in ensuring a safer maritime industry in the sub region was a stellar example to other IMO member countries.
The IMO, Mr Lim indicated, would continue to strengthen its collaboration with Ghanato ensure that challenges that threaten the maritime sector were addressed for a safer and secured sector in the region.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS