The Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) has organized the sixth Maritime Seminar for Judges of the Superior Courts to educate and update their knowledge on maritime laws and related disciplines. The one-day seminar was aimed at developing a strong and knowledgeable judiciary that would settle maritime disputes. In acknowledging the significant role that maritime trade and transport play in the economic and social life of Ghanaians, the Minister of Transport, Mike Hammah said Government’ vision to make Ghana a maritime hub for West and Central Africa was on course. He announced that an integrated approach was being adopted to ensure the realization of this vision. This, he said, involves “port rehabilitation and expansion efforts, rehabilitation and expansion of the railways, Boankra Inland Port project and the creation of a conducive environment for Foreign Direct Investment in the aviation and maritime sectors which, to a very large extent, are yielding encouraging results.” He therefore encouraged all sectors which have any form of relevance for the maritime sector in particular and the transport system in general, to work in harmony to ensure that Ghana maintains a competitive position in the West Africa sub-region as far as international trade is concerned.” The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GSA, Kofi Mbiah, in his address, reiterated that the role of trade facilitation has become even more pertinent in recent times, stressing that it is now accentuated by the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities in the country. “It is worth mentioning that the GSA continues to design new modes for the protection of shippers in the entire transport chain by adopting measures to build robustness and competitiveness of entrepreneurs in the Ghanaian economy and infuse a deeper penetration of information technology for the effective and efficient performance of our maritime transport industry,” he added. Mr. Mbiah noted that the efforts would not realize their full meaning if they are not set within the framework of a well-informed judiciary, which is conversant and abreast with the nuances of international trade and transport law, especially as the country gears itself to exploit its oil and gas resources. He said efforts by the Chief Justice to build the capacity of members of the judiciary in this regard are laudable, stating that the Authority, in collaboration with the Judicial Training Institute and the Attorney General's Department, would complement these efforts by organizing specialized seminars for the bench and bar to particularly deal with aspects of maritime law that have implications for the exploitation of Ghana's oil and gas. The Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood, on her part, expressed gratitude to the GSA and the Ministry of Transport for continually making provision in their scheme of affairs to ensure that judges annually get the opportunity to refresh and upgrade their knowledge on maritime law, which is relatively difficult area of the law. She said: “The judiciary has come to accept the Annual Maritime Law Seminar for the Justices of the Superior Courts as a unique event; we must utilize fully to equip our judges to deliver effectively on their constitutional mandate.” The seminar examined legal issues relating to International Marine Collisions, Pilotage and Towage, Alternative Dispute Resolution and the newly-signed United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods wholly or partly by sea (Rotterdam Rules) 2009, which affect the exploitation of Ghana's oil and gas.
Source: Daily Guide - Ghana