The Ghana Maritime Authority in collaboration with the International Maritime Organization has organized a 5-day workshop on the implementation of the ISPS code.
The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code is a comprehensive set of measurements by the IMO for international security by prescribing responsibilities to government authorities, port authorities, shipping companies and seafarers.
After the September 11 terrorism attack on the USA, the IMO decided to set up mitigating conventions to deter the usage of ships as channels for terrorism which brought about the ISPS code.
Stakeholder organizations in Ghana’s maritime industry that had their personnel trained at the workshop include the Ghana Maritime Authority, the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority, the Port, Railways and Marine Unit of the Ghana Police, the Tema Shipyard, and Tullow Ghana.
The Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, encouraged the beneficiaries of the workshop to take full advantage of the expert education given them, to enhance their capacities in implementing the ISPS code.
“I am highly informed that the IMO has assembled resource persons who are experts in this field to ensure the success of this workshop. We are, therefore, privileged once again to have this opportunity to benefit from a team of highly qualified experts,” he said.
According to Mourad Ghorbel, Technical Officer, Maritime Safety Division of the International Maritime Organization, the IMO in accordance with assisting member countries to be well equipped to enforce the ISPS, train participants on how to perform port security assessments, how to self-audit and how to approve port facility security plans.
He said with an increase in global cyber security threats and drug trafficking, the IMO does not like member countries to rest on their laurels, but instead keep enhancing their methods to prevent such maritime related crimes.
“Ghana is complying but we will need to update our security plans in Ghana, to address those new threats,” he stated.
Nana Boakye-Boampong, Senior Maritime Administration Officer at the Ghana Maritime Authority, educated that these port security enhancement programs are essential to trade as it continues to place Ghana in good stead to attract vessels. An unsafe port according to the GMA official, leads to higher freight rates.
“If your port is not safe you do not attract ships, if your port is not safe you have higher premiums on insurance and so if we are not able to keep our ports safe, our freight rates are going to go higher and would even have a toll on the whole national security of the nation because our economy is dependent largely on imports,” he explained.