Chief Justice (CJ) Judge Kwasi Anin Yeboah said the country’s commercial maritime activities are essential to economic growth and therefore it is imperative that the judiciary be sufficiently equipped to deal with maritime issues that are its responsibility. are submitted.
According to him, it is imperative that superior court judges be aware of maritime laws in order to deal effectively with cases relating to maritime transport, piracy and related matters.
Speaking at the opening of the 13th Maritime Law Seminar for Superior Court Judges, the CJ said that with pirate attacks recorded in Ghana’s territorial waters in the Gulf of Guinea, problems of arrest of ships, judicial sale and distribution of products will arise during arbitration.
“Therefore, my Lords and Judges will need to be well equipped to deal with them in a way that stimulates economic growth,” he said.
Maritime activities have been booming for decades, and the country has benefited enormously. It is common knowledge that over the past two years Ghana’s international maritime trade has seen a tremendous growth in the volumes of goods passing through our ports. From an import and export throughput of around 15 million tonnes in 2014, the total throughput for the ports of Tema and Takoradi increased to around 20 million tonnes in 2019.
About 50 judges attended the two-day event, organized by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) and the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) to build their capacity on contemporary events in the industry.
They were discussed through topics such as piracy and terrorism by Osei Bonsu Dickson, legal director of the Department of National Security; Bills of Lading and Other Documents Used in International Trade by Alexander Buabeng, Maritime Law Consultant; and the arrest of ships, judicial sale and distribution of the product by Dr Kofi Mbiah, who is also a consultant for maritime legislation.
Judge Yeboah, expressing concern over piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, said Ghana had since last year recorded nine cases in its territorial waters – six of which took place last year.
He said three events took place between January and June of this year, and the attacks mainly concerned ships carrying bulk oil and its products, as well as those carrying exotic cargo.
He acknowledged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s recent call for concerted efforts among West African leaders to deal with growing threats, as they may affect maritime trade.
Judge Yeboah said the shipping industry demands all the attention it can get because it is the most efficient and cost-effective method of international transportation and trade.
He therefore commended industry stakeholders for ensuring that more than 80% of global trade remains unresolved despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ghana Shippers Authority
GSA Director General Benonita Bismarck said the contribution of maritime trade to the country’s economic development is essential; and with advancements in the industry to improve the ease of doing business, deliberate efforts are being made to ensure that industry players have clarity on legal procedures both locally and globally.
While highlighting the success of the introduction of the integrated customs management system and the paperless customs clearance system, she said that the list of unpaid cargoes and the administration and management are challenges for the transport sector. maritime.
She said that through advocacy from the GSA, a committee has been set up by the Department of Transportation to address issues – including unauthorized shipments from state institutions that have been in ports for about three years.
Ms Bismarck said the Authority is also working with other stakeholders to streamline port charges and reduce shipping costs.
Judicial training institute
JTI Acting Director Judge Dennis Adjei praised the GSA for its support in training judges and called on the GSA to help some judges pursue maritime law courses.