The Minister for Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah has urged the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), regulator of the maritime industry, to take all necessary steps to enforce the sulphur cap 2020 regulation set by International Maritime Organization (IMO) to ensure a sustainable shipping industry.
The Sulphur Cap 2020 is a regulation set by the IMO to enforce a new 0.5 percent global sulphur cap on fuel content from January 1, 2020, lowering from the present 3.5 percent limit sulphur emissions from ships.
The global fuel sulphur cap is part of the IMO’s response to heightening environmental concerns, contributed majorly by harmful emissions from ships.
According to the sector minister, government is committed to ensuring that the industry flourishes, hence the full endorsement of the Sulphur Cap 2020 initiative to significantly reduce the sulphur content of ships fuel. As a result, government fully endorses the GMA’s ban on ships with sulphur emissions exceeding the 0.5 percent mass by mass (m/m) from entering Ghana’s port.
The minister made this known in a speech, delivered on his behalf by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Mable Sagoe on the celebration of this year’s World Maritime Day, organised by the Ghana Maritime Authority in Accra, on the theme: ‘Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet’. Mr. Ofori Asiamah said the theme indicated a wakeup call to raise awareness on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goals 3, 11, 13, and 14.
He added that, in order to keep Ghana’s marine domain from illegal activities, the government has equipped the GMA with seven speed boats which enable officials to patrol the country’s waters, take and conduct search and rescue activities.
The sector minister also commended the GMA, Ghana Navy, and the Marine Police for their efforts in keeping Ghana’s marine domain safe and other stakeholders for their support and collaboration with the GMA.
Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Thomas Kofi Alonsi, also said sea borne trade is growing annually at 4.5 percent, adding that the rapid increase in international shipping with its exceptionally consumption of millions of barrels of fuel per day has direct impact on the marine and atmospheric environment globally.
He said the industry generally accounted for over 90 percent of the transport sector fuel emissions into the atmosphere, reason why it is important for all players to come together and ensure the sulphure limit directive is implemented to the letter.