The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has begun a two-week training workshop on Casualty Investigation Code for Flag State Inspection Officers in Ghana.
The training, among others, would enhance the safety of seafarers, passengers and promote the maritime environment in the country.
It is expected to stimulate discussions that would provide a common approach for stakeholders to adopt in the conduct of marine safety investigations into marine casualties and marine incidents.
The fortnight training would focus on subjects and thematic areas ranging from Marine Casualties, Accidents and Global Search and Rescue Plans and how to set up investigations, mandatory standards, identifying risk and how to structure and submit investigative reports.
The IMO Casualty Investigation Code (Resolution MSC. 255 (84)) provides a common approach for States to adopt in the conduct of marine safety investigations into marine casualties and marine incidents.
A marine safety investigation, as defined in Code, is an investigation conducted with the objective of preventing marine casualties and marine incidents in the future.
The Code envisages that states would apply consistent methodology and approach to enable and encourage a broad ranging investigation, where necessary, in the interests of uncovering the causal factors and other safety risks.
Mr Yaw Akosa Antwi, the Deputy Director General in charge of Finance and Administration of the GMA, speaking at the opening of the training in Accra, said the maritime industry had witnessed extensive changes in its structure and various international laws associated with it.
Those changes, he said, had potentially increased the State’s interest in the processes and outcomes of marine safety investigations, in the event of a maritime casualty or marine incident.
He said it was imperative, therefore, that efforts were made to leave no stone unturned to ensure that experts who investigated incidents involving seafarers at sea were highly skilled to do their work.
He said the Ghana Maritime Authority in its efforts towards implementing the Casualty Code had collaborated with the Ghana Navy to set up committees to investigate various incidents that had unfortunately taken place over the years.
All those incidents, he said the GMA constituted a committee of experts to identify the remote causes, the findings of which informed the Authority with grounded facts and figures shared with the International Maritime Organisation via its Global integrated Shipping Information System.
Capt. Dallas Laryea, IMO Regional Coordinator for West and Central Africa, said IMO encourages the promotion of a common approach to the safety investigation of marine casualties and incidents based on the implementation of the Casualty Investigation Code (resolution MSC.255(84)) and the Guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident (resolution A.1056(27)).
Also, he stated that the IMO continued to promote cooperation between States in identifying the contributing factors leading to marine casualties.
The training, he said, was timely as it aimed at assisting Ghana to enhance its human capabilities to carry out investigations into marine casualties and incidents in accordance with the IMO Casualty Investigation Code.
Capt. Laryea said the sovereignty of a coastal State extended beyond its land and inland waters to the extent of its territorial sea, giving it jurisdiction and an inherent right to investigate marine casualties and marine incidents connected with its territory.
“Most national Administrations have legal provisions to cover the investigation of a shipping incident within its inland waters and territorial sea, regardless of the flag,” he explained.
Capt. Laryea said: “The way forward for the marine accident and casualty investigation presented many challenges,” and that it would require the continued commitment and willingness of Member States to deliver their share of responsibilities.