Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) in line with its objectives have domesticated several international maritime instruments to ensure that the training, recruitment and welfare of seafarers follow international best practice, Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Minister for Transport has disclosed.
He said the GMA constantly ensured that Ghana continued to stay on the International Marine Organisation (IMO) list of countries that had given full effect to the International Convention on the Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers.
Mr Asiamah made the observation when he appeared before Parliament to respond to a question by Mr Isaac Ashai Odamtten, Member of Parliament (MP) for Tema East who want to know the operational effectiveness of sailors and crew recruitment, their safety and general welfare, having regard to the GMA Act and international best practice.
Mr Asiamah said the STCW (Convention) sets out the minimum standards required by seafarers to work on board ships, adding that. the latest approval by the Marine Safety Committee of the IMO was in May 2021. This means seafarers holding certificates issued by the Ghanaian Administration meets international standards.
He disclosed that the GMA have signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with over 35 major ship owning countries per Regulation 1(10) of the STCW. By this MOU, Ghanaian seafarers can be employed on the ships of signing parties.
On the issue of welfare, Mr Asiamah said the welfare of seafarers is crucial in the shipping industry as it is closely related to the safety of navigation and property.
He explained that the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006) which establishes seafarer welfare including minimum working and living standards is being implemented domestically through Ghana Maritime Labour Regulation 2015 (LI 2226).
He said under the regulations, a number of companies have been licensed as Seafarers Recruitment and Placement Agencies (SRPA). Their licenses are renewed annually upon an audit to verify provisions in the regulation are adhere to.