Although ships and vessels are mostly owned by private individuals or institutions, various existing international regulations demand that such ships be registered in the names of sovereign states and subsequently fly with the registered country’s national flag.
The flag of convenience however, makes it possible for ships to be registered in countries other than their origin and subsequently fly with that foreign country’s flag.
Currently, there are about two main kinds of registration; the open registry or flag of convenience and the close registry.
The Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah however, is of the view that there are pertinent policy issues dealing with the adoption of an open registry system in Ghana to enable foreign ships register under the Ghana flag.
Asiamah speaking at the inauguration of the Ghana Chamber of Shipping in Accra noted that these policy issues must be thoroughly addressed before any implementation is seen.
He noted Cabotage which serves as the right to operate sea, air, or other transport services within a particular territory will ensure the participation of Ghanaian registered vessels trading in our maritime domain as well as legislation on Marine Insurance to build capacity for the insurance industry.
“All these, however would require high quality research and advice that would inform policy to shape the decisions and offer pragmatic solutions to the challenges of the maritime transport industry,” he noted.
He said the dynamic nature of the maritime industry calls for a constant review of existing policies to keep up with the pace of changing trends and trade developments.
Asiamah said his outfit remains steadfast in putting in place a comprehensive maritime transport policy underpinned by a robust governance structure.
The minister noted that the structure will not only address the growth of the industry but also the sustainability and care for the environment.
By Mawuli Y. Ahorlumegah