The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) says it has begun exploring ways to fast track the processes of getting the Cabotage Law in full force.
Cabotage deals with the transportation of goods or passengers between two places in the same country by a transport operator from another country.
According to the Authority, once the law is in place, it will ensure that seafarers take ownership of all vessels and activities and the transportation of items with the country’s waters.
Currently, the draft bill for the Cabotage law is going through processes to be laid in Parliament to be passed.
However, while the law is yet to be passed, Director General of Ghana Maritime Authority, Thomas K. Alonsi said his outfit has begun exploring other means to compel Foreign Vessels operating within the country’s waters to employ local seafarers.
“The Authority (Ghana Maritime Authority) has been at the forefront of championing a Cabotage Law designed to ensure that as many of you as possible gain employment. We are determined to ensure that a sizeable percentage of jobs are reserved for our seafarers by foreign vessels operating within Ghana’s maritime jurisdiction,” he stressed.
In the shipping industry, Cabotage laws apply to merchant ships in countries that have a coastline so as to protect the domestic shipping industry from foreign competition, preserve domestically-owned shipping infrastructure for national security purposes, and ensure safety in congested territorial waters.
Speaking at the 2021 Day of the Seafarer (25th June 2021), Mr. Alonsi, said the indigenous workers deserved better, for this reason, checks have been put in place to ensure all foreign vessels produce proof of employment of indigenous seafarers, as a requirement to renew operational certificates.
“While the draft bill is going through the processes of being laid before Parliament and debated, before being passed, the Authority is exploring other avenues of compelling foreign vessels operating solely within our waters to employ local seafarers. We have included as part of our conditions for the renewal and granting of operational permits and licences for vessels operating solely within our maritime jurisdiction, a requirement for proof of employment of local seafarers.”
“We intend to enforce these regulations religiously. We are confident that these efforts would bear fruits very soon. After all, our agenda is a fair future for Seafarers. Ghana Seafarers must also benefit from Ghana maritime jurisdiction,” he added.