The Regional Maritime University (RMU), formerly the Regional Maritime Academy (RMA), has been inaugurated by President J.A. Kufuor.
The university will train quality personnel for the maritime industry in West and Central Africa.
With its new status, the RMU, jointly owned and funded by Ghana, Cameroun, The Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone, now runs Bachelor of Science degree programmes in Maritime Engineering, Electricals and Electronics, Ports and Shipping Administration, as well as Nautical Science.
Pronouncing the birth of the university in Tema, President Kufuor underscored the need for highly trained personnel to manage the maritime industry in the West and Central African sub-regions and said many marine disasters in the sub-regions, could be averted if vessels were manned by personnel with the needed expertise.
President Kufuor said the development of offshore fisheries and oil, as well as the fight against narcotics and other forms of illegal trade, was one of the challenges which required highly trained personnel to overcome.
He asked the university to maintain its quality standards and paid tribute to its alumni, some of whom are occupying very key positions across the globe.
The Minister of Ports, Harbours and Railways, Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, said although the RMA was established by five member states of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), a larger number of the students of the academy were from non-member states such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Congo, Tanzania, Benin, Togo, Madagascar and Cote d'Ivoire.
Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi said the introduction of the degree programmes demanded structural changes in the academy to bring it in line with the structures of a conventional university as much as possible, while taking into account the academy's peculiar status and character as a regional para-military tertiary institution belonging to five sovereign states.
He said the institution had been admitted onto the list of beneficiaries of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and indicated that with such a status, the university would soon be presented with a 400-room hostel.
Justifying the existence of the university, Captain Aaron Obeng Turkson, Rector of the RMU, said the university was relevant because the economies of most countries in West and Central Africa, were dependent on maritime transport which could also serve as a vehicle for integration.
Recognising the quality and relevance of its programmes, Captain Turkson said, the RMU had become the institution of choice for many students who would want to pursue maritime education and training.
Story by Nehemiah Owusu Achiaw