Chief Justice (CJ), Justice KwasiAninYeboah says it is essential for superior court judges in Ghana to be conversant with maritime laws in order to effectively deal with cases relating to shipping, piracy and related matters .
He said that with pirate attacks recorded in Ghana’s territorial waters in the Gulf of Guinea, issues of arrest of vessels, judicial sale and distribution of profits would be raised in arbitration.
“Therefore, my Lords and Ladies Justices should be well equipped to deal with them in a way that would stimulate economic growth,” he said at the opening of the 13th Maritime Law Seminar for Court Judges. higher in Accra on Friday.
About 50 judges from Ghana’s superior courts attended the two-day event, organized by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) and the Ghana Judicial Training Institute (JTI) to build their capacity on contemporary events in the ‘industry.
They were brought through topics such as piracy and terrorism; bills of lading and other documents used in international trade, and seizure of vessels, judicial sale and distribution of proceeds.
Justice Yeboah, expressing concern over piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, said Ghana had recorded nine cases in its territorial waters since last year, of which six incidents occurred last year.
He said three events took place between January and June this year when the attacks mainly targeted ships carrying bulk oil and its products and ships carrying exotic cargo.
He acknowledged President Nana Akufo-Addo’s recent call for concerted efforts among West African leaders to address growing threats as they may affect maritime trade.
Justice Yeboah said the shipping industry needs all the attention it can get as it is the most efficient and cost-effective method of international transport and trade.
He therefore commended industry stakeholders for ensuring that more than 80% of global trade remains resolved despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
GSA Chief Executive Benonita Bismarck said the contribution of maritime trade to the economic development of the country was essential and that with the progress of the sector to improve the ease of doing business, deliberate efforts were being made to ensure that players in the sector have clarity on legal procedures both locally and globally.
While highlighting the success of the introduction of the Integrated Customs Management System and the Paperless Port Clearance System, she said that the list of uncleared cargoes and the administration and management was a challenge for the customs sector. maritime transport.
She said that through advocacy by the GSA, a committee had been set up by the Department of Transport to address issues, including uncleared shipments from state institutions that had been in ports for about three years.
Ms Bismarck said the Authority was also working with other stakeholders to streamline fees at ports and reduce shipping costs.
JTI Acting Director, Justice Dennis Adjei commended the GSA for supporting the training of judges and called on the GSA to help some judges take additional courses in maritime law.