Domestic Shipping Regulations passed

The Domestic Shipping Regulations, popularly known as the Cabotage Law, meant to reserve jobs in the country’s maritime jurisdiction for Ghanaian seafarers, has been passed by Parliament.

The Ghana Shipping (Cabotage) Regulations, 2021 LI 2438 seek to help domesticate certain activities within the country’s maritime and shipping sector.

A Deputy Minister of Transport, Hassan Tampuli, who made this known at the 2022 Day of the Seafarer in Accra on June 24, observed that the ministry would continue to provide the necessary direction to ensure the new regulation was successful.

The Day of the Seafarer (DotS) is marked annually on June 25 to recognise the unique contribution made by seafarers to the global economy.

The day, which has been observed for the past 12 years, is also used to promote and recognise the enormous contribution of the seafarer whose occupation is on board a ship at sea.

On the theme: “Your voyage – then and now, share your journey,” this year’s event sought to provide seafarers a chance to share what resonates with them currently, whether it is the crew change crisis being unresolved or the future of technology.

“I am also elated to inform you of the coming into force of the Ghana Shipping (Cabotage) Regulations, 2021 LI 2438.

“This regulation reserves 50 per cent of all officers and 75 per cent of all Ratings positions aboard vessels operating solely within Ghana’s maritime jurisdiction to Ghanaian seafarers,” he said.

Requisite capacity

He said as the ministry built the requisite capacity and increased the country’s seafarer workforce, these percentages would be increased for the benefit of all.

He said the GMA had drafted a Standardised Seafarer Employment Agreement which was awaiting the approval of the Labour Department and subsequent implementation.

This effort will ensure that the rights of Ghanaian seafarers, working on merchant and fishing vessels, were clearly defined as required in the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).

“The last couple of years have been challenging for the shipping industry owing to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Nevertheless, seafarers were relentless in providing the world with unprecedented services and for this we say Thank You and Ayekoo to our Ghanaian seafarers.

“Leaving your homes, families and friends for days, weeks and months to ensure that life goes on despite the dangers, isolation and loneliness is indeed a great sacrifice. Believe me when I say your efforts are greatly appreciated.

Licensed seafarer recruitment

The Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Thomas Alonsi, said the authority had licensed seafarer recruitment and placement service providers to ensure that the recruitment and placement of seafarers was well regulated.

“It is also to protect seafarers from unscrupulous service providers and to protect their wages and other benefits under the Maritime Labour Convention.

“Seafarer Recruitment and Placement Service Providers who blatantly abuse the right of seafarers, risk being sanctioned by not having their licences renewed, among other measures,” the GMA Boss said.