The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) held a 10-day interagency workshop in Tema, Ghana from 28 June – 6 July 2022 for participating agencies to improve their understanding of, and capacity to implement the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA).
Five of the six FCWC Member States have ratified the agreement to implement the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) PSMA, which includes important commitments to comply with laid-out procedures prior to deciding whether to authorise a vessel to port, and what to do with a vessel if/when it has been authorized to enter the port. Although PSMA is fisheries-led, the training explained the Advanced Request for Entry to Port (AREP) process, giving agencies insight into the roles that each agency plays in the risk analyses and risk assessment, as well as during and after inspection.
The 23 participants of the training comprised representatives from the Monitoring Control and Surveillance Divisions of Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria, and other Ghana national agencies: Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority (GPHA), Ghana Marine Police, and Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) and the Technical Team of the West Africa Task Force (TM-Tracking and Stop Illegal Fishing). The workshop included an in-class interagency risk assessment exercise to practice using AREPs, and an in-person interagency inspection of a tuna purse seine vessel at the Tema Port. The value of AREPs, risk assessments, and the interagency approach was clearly demonstrated when a maritime representative noticed that a safety certificate was missing from the documents produced for inspection. The vessel officer was instructed to produce the certificate or pay a fine before leaving port.