The Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Thomas Kofi Alonsi ,has hinted that sulphur oxide content of marine fuel from incoming ships have reduced considerably with significant benefits to human health and environment.
This was after in January this year Ghana joined global port nations to ban vessels which carry more sulphur content in their fuel.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the World Maritime Day organized by the GMA, Mr Alonsi said compliance will be enforced in accordance with global regulations.
This year’s celebration was on theme “Sustainable Shipping for a sustainable planet”.
It is a day set aside by the United Nations (UN) through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to celebrate the contributions of the maritime industry worldwide to the world economy, especially in shipping.
The day is also used in encouraging key stakeholders in the sector to develop and implement strategies to address a wide range of issues, including marine base economic development, the Blue Economy (the blue economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.)
The Sulphur Cap 2020 is a regulation set by the IMO to enforce a new 0.5% global sulphur cap on fuel content from January 1, 2020, lowering from the present 3.5% limit sulphur emissions from ships.
The global fuel sulphur cap is part of the IMO’s response to heightening environmental concerns, contributed in part by harmful emissions from ships.
Recognizing the significant role the maritme industry play in national development, Mr Thomas kofi Alonsi disclosed that government is committed to ensure that the industry flourishes, hence the full endorsement of the Sulphur Cap 2020 initiative to significantly reduce the sulphur content of ships fuel oil.
In order to keep Ghana’s marine domain from illegal activities, he added, the GMA has procured about 7 speed boats which enables officials in patrolling the country’s ports, takes and conduct search and rescue activities.
The Chief Director of the Transport Ministry, Mable Sagoe, who represented the sector minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah indicated that the theme served as a wakeup call to raise awareness on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals specifically Goal 3, 11, 13, and 14.
He said the government is committed to ensuring that the work of seafarers grow.
To that end, he said, President Nana Akufo Addo during the partial lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, excluded ships from carrying essential commodities such as food, medicines, fuel and other cargo into the country.
Seafarers, who operate these ships were also given special dispensations that enabled them to perform their work.