RMU students join calls for training vessel and more


The student body of the Regional Maritime University is the latest group calling for increased focus on the growth of Ghana’s Blue Economy.

Last week, the Students Representative Council (SRC) of the Regional Maritime University held a Blue Economy Conference on the theme ‘Employment in the Blue Industry, a Catalyst for Economic Growth, Exploring the Roles of Stakeholders, Government and Academia for this Cause’.

Addressing his audience, the President of the SRC, Alex Abayateye, doubled up on calls for the acquisition of a training vessel for the school.

“We heard the news from our current Transport Minister that US$152,000,000 has been secured for a mobilisation project in Regional Maritime University, of which obtaining a training vessel is one of them. We are hoping and praying it comes in time; but then, we want it to come in assiduously and with speed.

The Monitoring Manager at the Port of Tema, Capt. Ebenezer Gakpey, encouraged the RMU to expand its scope of training.

“Though the university has an array of courses that the port has taken advantage of over the period, there are still untapped areas that the university can design programmes to address, and I will like to give one example of things to look out. For example, there is no programme in the sub-region that trains vessels traffic operators – that is the BTMI or the port control vessels,” he said.

A Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr. Stephen Amoah, promised the students they have the ears of government for the development of the Blue Economy.

“I can assure you that the things you have spoken about, the government should probably upscale its performance. I will do my best to push them in the area of government specific policies. Having read it, if it’s there and it has to be reviewed, I will push that,” he assured.

Progress made toward cabotage aspirations

The Deputy Director in charge of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ghana Maritime Authority, Dr. Richard Lartey, has revealed that some significant progress has been made in the country’s bid to implement the Cabotage Law that was passed last year.

The Cabotage Law is designed to restrict a significant part of the maritime trade in Ghanaian waters to Ghanaians. The law will ensure that 50 percent of all officers and 75 percent of all ratings operating in Ghanaian waters are Ghanaians.

“So far, we have documented procedures to inform stakeholders about the detailed permutation processes. We have also sent some of our staff to Nigeria to study the permutation lesson learned or challenges learned by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agencies (NIMASA) to see some of the challenges they encountered when they started the implementation. NIMASA started rolling out the cabotage in 2003; so in Africa, they are the leading agency in terms of cabotage.”

Speaking on the side-lines of the Blue Economy Conference, he explained further the benefits of the cabotage regime to Ghanaians.

“Cabotage means that we are restricting maritime trade to our locals; so you can have a situation where the foreign cargo vessels are coming in, but they have to register under the cabotage regime. It means that our graduates from the Maritime University will have the opportunity to work on board the vessels.”

The official of the Ghana Maritime Authority also touched on the Go-to-Sea programme that will be launched soon.

“This is a programme that we are launching out very soon to educate and sensitise SHS students and other accredited tertiary institution on the need to see the seafarer career as a very good profession; and so, we will be going to a lot of school and institutions to educate them on the prospects of the maritime industry,” he said.

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