Government Urged To Intervene In Seafarer Unemployment

Pundits in the maritime industry have decried the non-existence of mechanisms that would guarantee employment for Ghanaian seafarers and harness the full potential of the nation’s human resource in the blue economy.

Discussing the plight of the Ghanaian Seafarer on Eye on Port, President of the Seafarers Centre Ghana, Edem Kofi Loh-Mensah, described the predicament suffered by many Ghanaian seafarers who are trained, certified, yet unemployed.

“Once you graduate from the Maritime University, you are on your own,” he bemoaned.

The President of the Seafarers Center called for the broadening of the local content policies of government for the maritime industry especially offshore oil exploration to cover seafarers.

Touching on the poor working conditions of seafarers on fishing vessels, Mr. Loh-Mensah said, “we have had reports from our colleagues in the fishing vessels about treatment on vessels in terms of what they eat, where they sleep, and contracts between their agencies and employers are not going well.”

Edem Loh-Mensah also lamented the cost of renewing seafarers’ certificates and licenses.

Contributing to the subject, Lecturer at the Regional Maritime University, Captain William Amanhyia argued that there is growing demand for seafarers globally, and that  government has to position Ghanaian seafarers to take up these opportunities.

Capt. Amanhyia said, “the whole of Africa is full of offshore industries and this is somewhere Ghana can even specialize in, by working with GNPC to get that market.”

He said government could take a cue from the Philippines who are making in excess of USD 6 Billion annually from providing about 389,000 seafarers to the global fleet.

The veteran seafarer and tutor also implored government to resource the Regional Maritime University with a training vessel that would help the school provide adequate practical studies to better complement theory.

“With the training ship, after one year we can equip these students and export them. If we get about 5000 seafarers employed in the maritime industry, we are going to make almost 2 Billion dollars every year.”

He called for the abrogation of the regionalisation of the Maritime University to make room for government to use it as a strategic national asset.

Capt. Amanhyia who is also a Fellow of the Nautical Institute, said setting in place operational and legal provisions for the employment of Ghanaian seafarers, will go a long way to harness the full potential of the Ghanaian youths as well generate income for government.

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