The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has appealed to judges to reconsider the frequent detention and arrest order on vessels berthing at the country’s ports.
Mr Richard Anamoo, Director-General of GPHA, said such detentions and arrests resulted in financial losses to the state.
Mr Anamoo explained that even though GPHA was not party to such cases, the Authority got affected by such orders.
He made the plea when some selected judges from the High, Appeal and Supreme Courts visited the GPHA and the Tema Port.
He said a court order to detain a vessel did not usually state who should bear the cost of the number of days the vessels would stay at the Port.
According to him, every single space a vessel would take at the port for a long time would result in the loss of revenue to the GPHA and the state since the port was supposed to be a transit place.
Mr Anamoo said detaining a vessel at one of the four berths at the Takoradi Port or the 12 berths at the Tema Port for days would disrupt the Authority?s daily business.
He stated that, for instance, a total of nine court detention orders were served on the GPHA to implement in 2013 while seven had already been received this year.
?Some of the challenges the GPHA faces in obeying such court orders include risk of sending bailiffs to sea to serve detention orders on captains of the affected vessels, ?he said.
?Another risk has to do with keeping documents seized from such vessels to prevent them from sailing out until the expiration of the order. The certificates include certificate of registry, inter certificate of management, discharge book of officers.?
He explained that some vessel crew also abandoned dilapidated vessels, which had been detained by the court at the port and this could block the anchorage.
Mr Anamoo stated that due to the negative effects of court detention orders and arrest warrants on vessels had on the GPHA, his outfit often struggled with the question; whether to obey or disobey the order.
Dr Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), said for the past 10 years, his outfit had organised annual maritime law seminars for the judges to refresh their minds on the nature of the industry.
Dr Mbiah said the GSA, therefore, decided to walk the judges through the practical part of the maritime industry for them to appreciate the effects of their decisions on the industry.
Some of the judges thanked the Ghana Shippers Authority and the GPHA for enlightening them and promised to find a solution to the question of loss of revenue to the ports as a result of court decisions.
As part of the visit, the judges were taken on a cruise onboard two of the GPHA’s tug boats for more than an hour.