ACCRA– Ghana has called on countries in West Africa and Central Africa which have signed the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to co-operate effectively to ensure compliance and enforcement of the Port Sate Control Regime.

The call was made by Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia at the opening of the 3rd Ministerial Conference of Abuja MoU on Port State Control (PSC) for West and Central Africa here Wednesday.

He said shipping is indispensable to international trade as most countries worldwide rely on seaborne transport for export and import of goods and services. Shipping also played a significant role in the functioning of the global economy.

He urged signatory countries of the Abuja MoU to tighten measures whenever they were carrying out port control inspections on ships berthed at their seaports for business transactions to ensure that only seaworthy ships operating in accordance with the standards set in the maritime safety, security and marine environment pollution prevention would be entertained.

The maritime conference here was jointly organized by the Ministry of Transport, the Ghana Maritime Authority and the Abuja MoU Secretariat on the theme, ”Tightening the Net: Regional Co-operation to Eliminate Sub-Standard Shipping.

It brought together maritime administrators, policy-makers and maritime experts from the West and Central African sub-regions, to brainstorm on strategies to improve maritime safety and to help eliminate sub-standard shipping.

The MoU on PSC was signed in 1999 in Abuja, Nigeria, and covers 22 countries stretching from Mauritania, Cape Verde, Cote, d’lvoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe to South Africa. So far, 15 of those countries are full members of the MoU.

The Abuja MoU basically provides for the inspection of foreign ships in other national ports to determine the compliance level of the ships with the requirements of international conventions and codes governing maritime safety, marine pollution and the living and working conditions of seafarers on board.