Maritime Offences Bill 2022 progressing steadily

By Morkporkpor Anku

Accra, July 7, GNA – Diana Asonaba Dapaah, a Deputy Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, says work on the Maritime Offences Bill 2022 is progressing earnestly.

She said the Bill was intended to domesticate the international convention for the suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation and related protocols.

The Deputy Attorney-General was speaking at the 14th Maritime Law Seminar for Judges of the Superior Courts Ghana on Friday in Accra.

The Seminar Series organised by the Ghana Shippers Authority in collaboration with the Judicial Training Institute was updating the knowledge base of the Justices/Judges of superior courts in Ghana to adequately prepare them for the challenges of interpretation and application of both domestic and international law on maritime issues.

She said when the Bill was passed, Ghana would play a key role in the prosecution of suspects of piracy and its related crimes.

Madam Asonaba Dapaah said the new Bill was necessary as the exiting legislation on piracy as captured in the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) was unable to deal adequately with sophisticated piracy issues.

“To be definite, the provision on piracy have not been amended, since the law was passed some six decades ago,” she added.

The Deputy Attorney-General said with the raging sophisticated and evolving of piracy matters, it had become necessary for the laws to also evolve concurrently to deal with these emerging piracy issues in the Country.

She said that the courts must be positioned strategically by way of knowledge and training to deal with issues of piracy when they arise.

“I am glad that piracy is one of the topics on the agenda for the seminar because, it will add to the information being pooled to review the existing legal framework for dealing with maritime crime to the benefit of not only Ghana, but the stakeholders of the global maritime space,” she added

Ms Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer of the GSA, said the seminar was its contribution to developing Ghana’s Maritime Law and its adjudication for the benefit of stakeholders with mutual interest in that area of law and particularly the shipping community.

“The GSA is committed to this noble cause, and we will continue to prioritise it in our strategic agenda, to the extent that is permissible within the scope of our mandate and budget,” she said.

She said over the years, the Authority had held sensitization workshops for haulage truck drivers at the Tema and Takoradi ports on road safety regulations.

The latest of these workshops was held in Tema on May 17, 2023, and it focused on the emerging threats posed by Jihadists along the transit routes from Ghana to Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

She said the decision to focus on the precautionary and reactionary security assessment on the transit corridors during the sensitization workshop was founded on the recent spate of insurgent attacks on haulage truck drivers in the West African sub-region.

Ms Bismarck said the unfortunate situation had been of grave concern to the GSA, and “we are collaborating with the relevant agencies to tailor interventions to address the threats effectively.”

She said the Justices were one of such relevant stakeholders that had been alerted to the anti-social happening on the country’s highways because they might be involved in adjudicating disputes that arise between shippers and the logistics and transport companies because of attacks on haulage truck drivers.

“It is for occurrences such as this that we find the need to sustain our collaboration with the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) to hold this seminar regularly,” she added.

She commended the Institute as well as Justices for the unwavering interest in the seminar.