Ghana Shippers’ Authority Boss re-elected Chair of International Maritime Organisation’s Legal Committee

Dr Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive of Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), has been re-elected Chairman of the Legal Committee of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for the period 2012-2013.

Dr Mbiah’s election took place at the just ended 99th Session of the Legal Committee held from April 16- April 20 in London.

This was contained in a statement issued by Nana Agyekum Gyamerah, Senior Public Relations Manager of GSA and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday.

It said in re-electing Dr Mbiah, the delegates took cognisance of the fact that during his tenure as Chairman, he demonstrated leadership qualities and competence and exhibited a high sense of tolerance of divergent views and displayed a deep insight in the workings of the Legal Committee.

The members noted that the above qualities together with his knowledge of the subject matters on the Committee’s Agenda were evident in his handling of the delicate and complex issues confronting the international maritime industry.

His re-election to the position comes at a time when the Legal Committee has on its agenda pertinent issues affecting international shipping including matters of pollution, damage and safety of life at sea.

The just ended session of the Legal Committee adopted new limits with respect to the limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims.

Under the tacit amendment procedure, the new limits will take effect after 36 months.

In arriving at the new limits, the Committee took into consideration the number of incidents and their capacity to damage the marine environment, the erosion in monetary values as a result of inflation and the effect of the increases on cost of insurance.

The 100th Session of the Legal Committee which Dr Mbiah will have the privilege to chair will consider the development of an international legal instrument in the form of guidelines in respect of Liability and Compensation on issues connected with trans-boundary pollution and damage arising out of offshore oil exploration and exploitation activities.

The issue of the scourge of piracy would continue to engage the attention of the Legal Committee.

In this regard, the Committee was working with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) on the development of a database of court prosecutions and judgements as a result of piratical attacks.

Dr Mbiah said in spite of jurisdictional differences, this would serve as a useful guide for countries which apprehended and prosecuted pirates.

Other pertinent issues to be considered by the Committee would include, the Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the event of a maritime accident, issues dealing with crimes at sea, technical co-operation for the development of maritime legislation.

The International Maritime Organisation is the United Nations Specialised Agency responsible for maritime safety, security and the protection of the marine environment from pollution from ships. It presently has 170 Member States.

Source: GNA

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