The Ghana Maritime Authority has hinted that there is an improved efficiency at the ports since the coming into force of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by some West and Central African countries despite the challenges being faced with the full implementation of the programme.
The Memorandum of Understanding dubbed the Abuja MoU on Port State Control for West and Central African Countries is an agreement among member states to ensure proper supervision and vet all vessels that use ports of member states.
In a brief remark at the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the Abuja MoU on Ports State Control in Accra, last week, Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Kwame Owusu revealed that despite the challenges being faced with the full implementation of the programme, the gains attained so far compliments governments quest to enhance efficiency at the ports.
He also touched on the essence of the agreement to maritime environment.
“It is worthy to note that under the MoU, ships that have been inspected in a member state will not be re-inspected at the next port of call within a certain time frame. Your Excellency, this in effect compliments your drive for port efficiency” he admitted.
“The essence of Port State Control is to ensure that our marine species are protected from contamination by pollution. It is also to ensure that ships that operate on our waters are safe to protect human life and property” he continued.
However, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has charged coastal African countries to ensure greater supervision and circumspection to eliminate unworthy ships from their ports.
Dr Bawumia was of the conviction that with stricter inspection and adherence to tenets of Port State Control regulations, there will be a better marine environment.
The Vice President while delivering his address at the 3rd Ministerial Conference of Abuja MoU on Port State Control stated, “Recalling the very important role of shipping, I take this opportunity to call on all member states to cooperate effectively in compliance and enforcement of the port state control regime. I, therefore, encourage member states to tighten their nets when carrying out Port State Control inspections in order to ensure that all ships that call to do business at our ports are seaworthy and operate in accordance with accordance with standards and procedures relating to maritime safety, security and marine environment pollution prevention”.
Dr Bawumia also urged member states to join in the war against pollution of the marine world as it has a dire consequence on aquatic life with the increase in maritime trade.
He maintained that as signatories to the agreement, there was a need to adopt standards that promote sustainable development and improve marine environment.
“As maritime trade increases, environmental concerns affecting marine life is on the increase and the growing pressure on ships continue to mount. The debate on environmental issues has in the past been how international shipping and maritime community can contribute to sustainable development” he noted.
Transport Minister Kweku Ofori Asiamah, who was also present at the event emphasised the relevance of the MoU to the member states.
“These MoUs make it possible for Maritime Administrations within a region to consult, cooperate and exchange information pertaining to irregularities that may affect the safety of the ship or pose harm to lives and the environment” Kweku Asiama noted
He reiterated that “The Abuja MoU aims to ensure a system of harmonised Port State Contol inspection procedure for the region, targeted at the reduction and eventual elimination of substandard ships”
The MoU came into force 19 years ago and currently has about 17 countries as signatories.
It consists mainly of countries in West and Central Africa.
Source: Adnan Adams Mohammed