Superior court judges have been equipped with the basics of maritime law to help adjudicate cases of pirate attacks in Ghanaian territorial waters.
Ghana has recorded a few pirate attacks in its territorial waters in the Gulf of Guinea since 2020.
Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah said that in ruling on some of these issues issues of the seizure of ships, judicial sale and distribution of the proceeds would arise and, therefore, “my Lords and Lady Justices will need to be well equipped to deal with it. in a way that will stimulate economic growth.
The Chief Justice was speaking at the 13th Maritime Law Seminar for Ghana Superior Court Judges in Accra.
The two-day seminar aimed to promote sustainable maritime transport and sustainable maritime development in the country.
He said the attacks mainly targeted ships carrying bulk oil and its products and those carrying exotic cargo.
He said the maritime law seminar would educate judges on the basics of maritime law, a relatively complex area of law.
The Chief Justice expressed his gratitude to the leadership of the Ghana Shippers Authority and the Judicial Training Institute for the important business aimed at deepening the professional process of judging maritime cases.
“You need to maintain this collaboration to ensure that judges are constantly updated with the required knowledge in the specialist area of maritime law,” he added.
He said the advent of COVID-19 has brought a whole new phase to almost all aspects of the action, including the delivery of justice.
He said that for the maritime, maritime and logistics sector, the challenges have been enormous.
The chief justice said that with all of these challenges the country should be grateful to international shipping services as the current disruption to the global supply chain would have been worse.
He said maritime transport was the most efficient and cost effective method of international transportation for most goods and provided a reliable and inexpensive way to transport goods on a global scale, facilitating trade and helping to create prosperity among nations and peoples.
Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah said that three very critical areas of maritime law are: piracy and terrorism, bills of lading and transport documents used in international trade and arrest of ships, judicial sale and distribution some products.
“These will be worked out for the understanding of my Lords and Lady Justices,” he added.
He said that the experience was aimed at highlighting the special nature of maritime trade and transport and bringing practical disposition to the realities of the enforcement of court decisions in the maritime sector.
Ms. Benonita Bismarck, Managing Director of the Ghana Shippers Authority, said the Authority, over the years, has negotiated and resolved thousands of shipper complaints.
She said that the experience gained while carrying out this mandate of the Authority provided insight into the enormous task judges have in resolving cases to promote social justice and facilitate the functioning of a fair, efficient and transparent legal system.
She commended the Lords and Lady Justices for their continued interest and continued participation over the years in these seminars.
She said that the year 2020 has posed major challenges for the shipping and logistics industry and that as a result of COVID-19 there have been an increase in freight rates, container shortages, transport capacity problems, port congestion and a general decline in port productivity.
Ghana is currently facing high freight rates, which is of great concern.
She said the government, in recent years, has invested heavily in electronic systems and adopted new political regimes to facilitate trade.
The CEO said an example was the introduction of the paperless port customs clearance system and the operation of the one-stop-shop platform through the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS).
She said the Ghana Revenue Authority reported that ICUMS, for the period between June 2020 and April 2021, generated a total of GHC 18.1 billion in revenue for the government almost a year after its deployment. full at the country’s land and sea borders.
“It is estimated that it generates between 1.3 billion GHC and 1.4 billion GHC per month in government, these are unprecedented numbers,” she added.
Ms Bismarck said both of these initiatives have shown the importance of technology and innovation for income generation.