National maritime policy establishment very important – Kofi Mbiah

Kofi Mbeah
Kofi Mbeah

Maritime Law and Management expert Kofi Mbeah has called for a comprehensive national maritime policy to guide the maritime industry beyond maritime territorial sovereignty and ownership rights.

“Beyond cabotage, we need to have a national maritime policy to guide local content, employment generation, labour, legal issues, oil and gas, clean beaches; and for the life of the mariner or seafarer after retirement from active service.” Dr Mbeah said.

Cabotage is the right to operate sea, air, or other transport services within a particular territory.

Dr Mbeah, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Shipping, said this in a lecture and a panel discussion at a seminar at the Regional Maritime University (RMU), at Nungua, near Tema.

He stressed that Ghana must develop and adopt a comprehensive national maritime policy beyond cabotage, new legislation and review of regulation.

The seminar, organized jointly by the Ghana Navy Officers Association and the RMU was on the theme “Your Place in the Maritime Labour Market; and was attended by industry actors, including retired and serving seafarers, organized labour; students, instructors and lecturers at the university.

Speakers at the seminar about what aspiring mariners and those already in the maritime labour market should know and do to gain a position of competitive advantage.

In the presentation, and during the discussion, Dr Mbeah spoke of a possible massive investment in the maritime industry and value chain activities in the blue economy as he explained that there was the need to take advantage of the marine and water resources of the earth because water covered two-thirds of the earth’s surface and land a third.

Among the areas, he identified for more investment are research, hospitality and recreation, husbandry, defence and environmental development and protection, which he said should be guided by a national maritime policy.

Dr Mbeah however wondered why many people would not go into research despite the advent of the Internet and other modern research tools, systems and mechanisms.

The oil finds and the nascent gas industry, Dr Mbeah stressed made the development and adoption of a national maritime urgent.

He called for the development of technologies and skills for current and emerging opportunities in the maritime industry. “Levels of efficiency must go up,” Dr Mbeah stressed.

Mr Alfred Fafali Adagbedu, the CEO, of Seaweed Engineering Limited, called on mariners to look at life beyond active service and retirement.

He said it was necessary to stay abreast with modern trends, especially laws and practices in the marine industry, as he stressed training to get more Ghanaians to be more involved in the maritime industry.

Mr Alock Asamoah, Training Officer, on behalf of Captain Addo Nii Addo, CEO of Bernhard Shultz Ship management urged mariners to lobby parliament and legislators to bring maritime issues to the fore.

He spoke of situations on some vessels that enter into Ghanaian waters without a single Ghanaian working on the vessels and asked, “Can’t we lobby our MPs for them to see the need for training to allow us to take on jobs on some of these vessels?

In a welcome address, Dr Jethro Brook, the acting Vice-Chancellor of the RMU stressed the need for collaboration between the institution and other industry actors.

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