By Gifty Arthur
The Deputy Minister of Transport, Mrs. Joyce Bawa-Mogtari, has revealed that Ghana is on course in protecting its territorial waters after it “ratified most of [the] major conventions of Marine Environment Protection” of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The Ministry with assistance from the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) in consolidating the major conventions of Marine Environment Protection, has drafted comprehensive Bill, commonly called the Pollution Bill for enactment purposes.
These were made known when Mrs. Mogtari opened a three-day regional workshop on MARPOL Annex VI-Ship Energy Efficiency and Technology Transfer, under the Integrated Technical Cooperation programme of the IMO on Wednesday in Accra.
MARPOL is the main international treaty that deals with the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ship from operational and accidental causes.
Annex VI MARPOL, on the other hand, specifically addresses air pollution from ships and includes requirements applicable to the manufacture, certification and operation of vessels and their engines.
According to the Deputy Minster, the workshop which closes today, follows a similar one in April here in Ghana where awareness was raised on Ships Routing Systems and Vessel Traffic Services.
She said, the three-day “workshop centred on topical environmental issues, is crucial to the attainment of an adequately protected marine environment and it pertinent to note that the IMO has put in place a number of effective measures to ensure that the environment is protected from all forms of pollution especially ship source pollution”.
Among other things, the Deputy Minister expressed hope that the workshop will help participants to understanding and appreciate amendments which were made to MARPOL Annex VI particularly Regulation 23 of Chapter 4 of the Annex.
She noted that the workshop will introduce participants to Technical and Operational Energy Efficiency measure which the IMO has developed to reduce the amount of emissions from international shipping.
“I believe that these new measures if effectively put in place by member states through the assistance of IMO Technical Cooperation Committee as it is doing today, will transfer technology and enhance capacity building to facilitate compliance for significant reduction of
Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by vessels”, she said.
It will also provide participants with detailed information with regard to the most recent amendments to MARPOL Annex VI and the responsibilities of parties under the Convention.
The eleven participating countries are Ghana, Benin, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sao Tome and Principe and Sierra Leone.
The Director-General of GMA, Mr. I. P Azumah, was confident that the topics that were going to engage the attention of participants will enhance their knowledge on the MARPOL Convention in general and in particular, Annex VI which deals with the prevention of pollution by ships.
He expressed his outfit’s appreciation to the IMO which usually partners the Authority in organizing regional seminars and workshops aimed at improving knowledge and building capacities of maritime administrations within the West and Central Africa sub-region for development purposes.
The Technical Officer, Marine Environment Division, IMO, noted that aside the workshop being the first of its kind and being an important part of IMO’s efforts to support developing countries.
He said it is a new approach, by not only training the participants on Annex VI of MARPOL, but very importantly allowing the participants to feed back views and information to an on-going process at IMO thereby being part of IMO’s global response to address climate change.
The IMO’s consultant also outlined the formant of the programme; the first two days will focus on Energy Efficiency measures for Ships with the third day focusing on identification of barriers for implementation of Annex VI in the region, especially issues regarding technology transfer.
Today, views and experiences of participants will form the back-bone of the discussion. Similar workshops will be organized in Asia, South America and the Mediterranean.
Board Chairman of the PSC Tema Shipyard, Real Admiral Mohammed Munir Tahiru, who described participants as “experts” urged them to commit to the programme and acquire the necessary knowledge from the resource persons to enable them advice their respective governments on what to do or what not to do.
“……if you have to advice the Ministry of Transport, you must know what goes into that by the end of this [prgramme]. Those who have to advice government must sound convincing. Strike the acquaintance and network so that the maritime environment will be able to keep it prestige. Let us make this workshop count, take all there is. You are the reason why are gathered here”, he advised.