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We need cross-sectoral legal and institutional framework to explore the blue economy, says Chief Justice

Ghana needs to develop a cross-sectoral legal, regulatory, and institutional framework not only to aid the prudent exploitation of the Blue Economy but to provide Judges with a legal landscape that helps the efficient and expeditious settling of jurisprudence.

This, according to Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo, would enable the judges to make relevant orders that support the flourishing of the economy.

Chief Justice Torkornoo was speaking at the 14th Maritime Law Seminar for judges of the Superior Courts Ghana on Friday in Accra.

The seminar series organised by the Ghana Shippers Authority in collaboration with the Judicial Training Institute was updating the knowledge of the justices/judges of superior courts in Ghana to adequately prepare them for the challenges of interpretation and application of both domestic and international law on maritime issues.

Topics to be discussed include Security in the Maritime Domain and Ghana’s Criminal Law Regime, The Legal Regime for the Arrest of Ships in Ghana, and The International Carriage of Goods by Sea Law in Ghana; Time for Needed Change.

The Blue Economy refers to the exploitation of the marine environment for sustainable development and the worldwide ocean economy is valued at about US$1.5 trillion per year.

Statistics indicate that 90% of global trade is via the sea with 350 million jobs worldwide linked to the fisheries sector.

By 2025, it is estimated that 34% of crude oil production will come from offshore fields with aquaculture being the fastest-growing food sector and providing about 50% of fish for human consumption.

She said to efficiently address the challenges of Ghana’s blue economy and thereby profit fully from it, “we, as a country must watchfully enforce the legal, regulatory and institutional framework that govern the several sectors it spans.”

The exciting concept of well-defining the contours of the blue economy provides the impetus for moving towards a better integrated legal, regulatory, and institutional framework that supports it.

The blue economy also offers a new dynamic that can be used to mobilize new inter-institutional linkages across different sectors, marshal support for necessary reforms and fill existing gaps in legislation and enforcement mechanisms.

She requested relevant ministries, departments, agencies, maritime and legal experts as well as academia to collaborate in this regard with the
judiciary involved to assist in deepening the harmony of legality that must accompany the task.

She said the judiciary also needed to develop practice directions for judges on the peculiar rules in admiralty jurisdiction, the crafting of orders and the sensitive operations of time within maritime law.

“We need to set out guidelines and manuals for registries on the service of maritime processes and proceedings, the enablement of e-hearings and other processes which will enhance the expedition and effectiveness of the work of courts and assist players in the industry,” she added.

She said the purpose for institutionalizing this seminar would always remain relevant, as long as the human conduct of business by sea remains, and the business of administering justice and developing the jurisprudence that supports this global arena remains critical to enterprise.

She said these topics were germane considering that the maritime world was very dynamic and competitive and world cargo throughput was seeing a rebound from the global supply chain disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Fredrick Adom, the deputy minister of transport, said the growing threat and dynamism of the industry demanded a clear-cut response, hence the need to deepen understanding and knowledge on maritime-related issues.

He expressed the hope that the industry would keep yielding transformational results for the benefit of the country and all stakeholders.

He said the government would continue to work with industry players to bring about efficiency, attract the needed investments and position Ghana as the preferred business destination within the sub-region.

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