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Interview with the Deputy Director (maritime security, search and rescue) GMA PT. 1

This is the first part of a very long but interesting interview session with the Deputy Director (maritime Security,Search and Rescue) 

    Capt.  Paapa Asuako-Owiredu is the deputy director (maritime security, search and rescue) at the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) and  doubles as

Deputy Director, Maritime Security Search and Rescue. GMA
Deputy Director, Maritime Security Search and Rescue. GMA

a part time lecturer at the Regional Maritime University. He is a former seafearer and a marine surveyor as well. In a recent one on one session with the Ghanashippingguide, he addressed some maritime issues  such as the recent pirate activities in the Sub-Region, Black Star line  as well as reminiscing his life at sea. enjoy the interview.

   Ghanashippingguide (GSG) – Good morning Sir, hope the day is treating your kindly. To begin with, there have been news of recent pirate attacks on the Gulf of Guinea which adversely has an effect on shipping along the sub-region. What’s your opinion on this matter and possibly, how do  you think the sub-region could combat this act.

Capt. Paapa Asuaku Owiredu (CPAO) – Good morning, Piracy has been a problem since time immemorial. In the days of great explorers like Columbus, Mungo park etc pirate attacks had occurred one way or the other. The uprising of the attacks in Somalia should have sent strong signals to countries in the region of the possibility of the escalation of this problem. When Somalian pirates most of whom were uneducated were making millions through this act , it was only a matter of time for other pirate groups to start springing up across the region to take their share of the booty. Some countries in the region saw the danger looming but were a bit slow in preparedness and now it’s a major challenge. The U.S. has offered some training  and equipped some regional navies which is a step in the right direction but the region needs more capable navies with boats that can out run that of the pirates.

GSG. – With regards the role of the Ghana Maritime Authority at the ports , can you tell us the searches that the GMA performs on a typical vessel that calls at the ports.

CPAO – We usually go there to perform port state control functions, our MOU obliges us to do about 15% of ships that call at our ports so we do not necessarily search every ship. However we visit ships that we profile to be in violations of certain requirements. We therefore perform random checks.

 GSG – I know the GMA is also responsible for ship registration in the country, has the 2014 year in review brought any positive trends with regards ship registration.

CPAO – When you say positive trends it is very relative, for fishing vessels , yes there has been some registrations but for cargo vessels which are very much needed in the country the trend hasn’t been positive. Probably because Ghanaian business men are not owning or investing in ships.

 GSG – Talking about owning ships in the country, do you think a coastal  maritime commuter transport could be feasible especially with the absence of a passenger or cruise terminal currently at the ports.

CPAO – Yes it is very possible, all you need is a jetty not necessarily  big ports for such low draft passenger Boats. Thus, any floating platform that can make people walk on could be ideal. The challenge however is up to the Ghanaian business man to see the great business opportunity in this and actually take it up. A maritime commuter transport has very great prospects in the country especially with our current transportation challenges.

 GSG – There are various port development projects across the sub-region do you think Ghana has a chance to position its ports as the port of choice.

CPAO – It’s an interesting developments across the sub-region, however, just as we have our maritime administration so does all the other competing countries, what we do here is not too different from what is done there. Togo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast as well as Ghana are all building deep water ports so I think competition if any would be based on services rendered to ships that call at these ports.

CLICK TO Check out the second part of this interview where we get a little personal, talking about his life as a sailor, passage through the Bermuda triangle, encounter with a typhoon etc.

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