The Nautical Institute has honoured the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) for its selfless efforts at alleviating the suffering of seafarers by working in collaboration with government to make Ghana a crew-changing hub and thereby embarking on regular repatriation missions.
Many seafarers, including Ghanaians, in their bid to keep the world’s economy running have ended up being stranded across the world due to border closures by many countries as part of measures to fight spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Data from the International Maritime Organisation (ILO) show that 2 million seafarers are stranded all over the world, a move that has been noted as not healthy for the seafarers as they have spent more time at sea far beyond their contractual obligation. The development resulted in a clarion call for nations to avail themselves as crew-changing hubs to help repatriate stranded seafarers, and Ghana heeded that call.
Presenting the Nautical Institute’s certificate of appreciation to Ghana Maritime Authority and Joshua Nii Addo Addo of Schulte Maritime Service Ghana, the Branch Secretary of the Nautical Institute, Captain Willam Amanhyia, said the Institute is pleased that Ghana has become a hub where individuals have collaborated with local authorities to lift restrictions regarding crew transfer.
“Through the presentation of this certificate, the Nautical Institute wishes to show them that they have not been forgotten, their efforts are not going unrecognized, and that the sacrifices each and every one of them is making are deeply appreciated,” Captain Amanhyia said.
Director General of the GMA, Thomas Alonsi, was pleased with the recognition – saying gratitude must be given to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for allowing the GMA to embark on such a mission for the good of seafarers.
“It is sad to say that children have been born; naming ceremonies, birthdays, graduation ceremonies, weddings and other important milestones have been missed – thus causing pain, anxiety, frustration and more importantly fatigue among these essential workers whose work propels the world’s economy and provides the world with the most basic necessities of life – i.e. food, water, medicines and others.
“It is in view of this that I wish to thank the president of our land, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and his government for their foresight in understanding the plight of these frontline workers who have played their part during this pandemic, to be relieved and repatriated by aircraft even though the country’s borders by land, sea and air are closed.
“I must say that this would not have been achievable without the president’s personal commitment to ensuring that the shipment of food, medicines, building materials and other essential goods into the country is not unduly hampered. Mr. President, thanks for the compassionate and caring leadership you have provided in these trying times. To the President, GMA says ayekoo,” Mr. Alonsi said.
He added that the Ghana Maritime Authority will continue to collaborate with the appropriate agencies to ensure seafarers and other relevant bodies receive the needed support to help them function effectively.
Noting that the facilitation of crew changes and effecting the repatriation of stranded seafarers from ships in Ghana forms part of our support for seafarers who were locked up on ships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Authority will therefore continue to ensure the welfare of seafarers as part of its mandate; and we will continue to cement the reputation of the maritime industry in Ghana as the safest, most proactive and efficient industry on the African continent.
“Recognition such as that from the Nautical Institute only remind us we are on the right trajectory. But for the devastating intervention of COVID-19, the Authority was nominated to receive the European Award for Best Practices in the month of May this year in Brussels.
This is a further attestation to the recognition Ghana and the Ghana Maritime Authority have earned through able leadership of the Authority and the tireless efforts we have made to ensure that the maritime sector in Ghana is efficient and meets international expectations,” Mr. Alonsi intimated.
Treasurer of the Nautical Institute, Captain Catharine Haizel, presenting the certificate to the Director General of GMA, Thomas Alonsi