The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) in collaboration with the international maritime organization (IMO) has organized a regional seminar on the ratification and implementation of the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 and provisions of the 1993 protocol relating to the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels.
The on-going seminar which is to last for a week, commenced on 8th, ends July 12, 2019, dubbed: "Ensuring Safety Of Ships and Fishing", intended to encourage open discussion on promoting and ensuring safety in the fishing industry.
The 2012 Cape Town Agreement (CTA), adopted by the IMO, outlines regulations designed to protect the safety of crews and observers and provides a level playing field for the industry whiles setting standards for fishing vessels of 24 meters length and over.
The Agreement also has a "no more favourable treatment" clause - which means that all vessels entering a port of a state that is a party to the Agreement would be subjected to the same inspection standards, even if their flag state has not ratified or acceded to it.
The Cape Town Agreement has since remained in the books and is yet to meet the entry into force requirements. The Agreement will only enter into force 12 months after the date on which not less than 22 states have ratified it.
So far, eleven states have ratified the agreement with 1,413 vessels out of the required 3,600. Woefully, in Africa, only Congo and South Africa have ratified the Agreement.
It is estimated that there are about 40 million workers working on vessels in the fishing industry globally. but about 24,000 deaths are recorded yearly in this sector.
"The alarming record was over 10 times the number on merchant ships and this clearly represents a huge disparity", said by the minister of transport, Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah.
According to him, the trend has been partly attributed to the lack of proper regulations on the safety of people working in the fishing industry.
Over the years, statistics revealed that Ghana is said to be the largest producer of Tuna in Africa and the fourth largest globally and also considered one of the countries with a high intake of fishery products.
Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah assured that government is a commitment to support the enactment of effective regulations for the fishing industry and the ratification of the Cape Town Agreement.
He urged, Ghana Maritime Authority to set the process in motion for the ratification of the Agreement.
Mr. Thomas Kofi Alonsi, the director general of Ghana Maritime Authority, also urged other member states to take necessary steps to ensure that the Cape Town Agreement comes to fruition.
He also assured that participants will be equipped with the requisite knowledge that will convince the stakeholders in the various member states to consider the significance of the Cape Town Agreement and the positive implications of its ratification by the end of the seminar.