Tema, 10th March 2023: An inter-agency workshop was held this week in Tema, Ghana, focusing on the practical implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA). The workshop convened members of the ‘Ports Task Force Ghana’, which aims to facilitate and coordinate national efforts towards PSMA implementation.
It included representatives of the Fisheries Commission (MCS division), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Ghana Police Marine Unit (GPMU), Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Port Health as well as other agencies.
The workshop provided an opportunity for the Fisheries Commission to update partner agencies on the current status of PSMA implementation in Ghana, and to identify areas where inter-agency cooperation and communication need to be improved.
The PSMA Port Profile of Tema – a baseline analysis of port use by foreign-flagged fisheries vessels over a reference period of 3 years – was formally presented to participants with a view to increase their knowledge of the types of vessels and operations using Tema port, identify factors increasing the risk of IUU fishing, and improve the targeting of vessels for inspection.
The workshop included a training session on Vessel Viewer, a mobile application developed by GFW and TMT aimed at providing port inspectors with the most up-to-date information on a fishing vessel’s identity and operations. Vessel Viewer was first introduced in Ghana in end 2021 as part of the application’s test phase, in which four countries participated as test users (Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Kenya). New functionalities were recently implemented, and the application is now being rolled out to a broader user base in Ghana.
Using baseline knowledge from the Port Profile and information accessed through Vessel Viewer, participants executed tabletop exercises focused on the processing of AREPs (Advance Request for Entry to Port) – the cornerstone of the PSMA through which Port States are able to conduct verifications before allowing foreign vessels into their ports.
A brainstorming session allowed participants to develop the skeleton of a set of future SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for PSMA implementation, which will cover key actions and decisions to be taken around the processing of AREPs, as well as a matrix for vessel risk assessment and inspection decision.
The workshop was organized by the programme ‘Supporting effective PSMA implementation in Africa: Intelligence-led Fisheries Port Controls’. It was held under the auspices of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), and delivered by a joint technical team consisting of Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF), Global Fishing Watch (GFW) and TMT.