Selected Justices of the Superior Courts of Ghana have been apprised on contemporary trends in the shipping and logistics sector to help them to adjudicate disputes efficiently and effectively.
Over forty (40) Justices attended the 14th Maritime Law Seminar held on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th July 2023 at the Alisa Hotel in Accra. The seminar, organized by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) in collaboration with the Judicial Training Institute (JTI).
Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo addressing the seminar
They were informed on varied topics, including “Carriage of Goods by Sea Law in Ghana: Time for Needed Change”; “The Legal Regime for the Arrest of Ships in Ghana”; “Security in the Maritime Domain”; and “Ghana’s Criminal Law Regime”. The Justices visited the Tema Port to gain practical knowledge and appreciation of port operations, to aid them to dischargee their duties competently.
During the opening ceremony for the seminar, the Chief Justice (CJ) Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo espoused the relevance of the selected topics, underscoring the dynamic and competitive nature of the maritime world. She also mentioned the expected increase in maritime economic activities within Ghana’s territory, which may give rise to disputes related to the transportation of goods and international trade in general.
Chief Justice (CJ) Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo being presented ‘The Admiral: A Compendium’ – A compilation of past papers presented at the Maritime Law Seminar.
Ms. Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GSA, emphasized the significance of the seminar given the dynamic nature of the shipping and logistics sector. She briefed the judges on the GSA’s efforts to address the increasing insurgent attacks within the West Africa sub-region, as these attacks adversely affect revenue generated from transit trade. She also mentioned that workshops on Road Safety Regulations have been organized for haulage truck drivers at the Tema and Takoradi ports.
A Deputy Minister of Transport, Honourable Fredrick Obeng Adom, addressed the judges on behalf of the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah. He stated that the marine industry would remain the primary engine of domestic and foreign trade and would stimulate economic growth and social development. He however acknowledged that the nature of the industry could also facilitate illegal activities and criminality at sea, and thus requires a deepened understanding of the sector to enable the fashioning of bespoke responses and interventions to maritime-related issues.
Participants, Presenters and invited Dignitaries at the seminar
Honourable Diana Asonaba Dapaah, Honourable Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice provided an update on the progress of the Maritime Offences Bill, 2022. She said that the Bill aims to domesticate the International Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA) and related protocols. Honourable Dapaah highlighted the importance of the new Bill in enabling Ghana to play a key role in the prosecution of piracy suspects, as the existing legislation, captured in the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), is inadequate for the effective adjudication of sophisticated piracy matters.
Some Judges onboard a tugboat at the Tema Port
Participants in the 14th Maritime Law seminar acknowledged that the two days invested into the program was well spent. They attested to the fact that, they were leaving with an enriched understanding of this specialized area of law and would utilize it for the good of all stakeholders.