The Government of Ghana has initiated plans to implement the ruling by the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS) that aimed at settling Ghana’s maritime disputes with Cote d’Ivoire.
The ITLOS ruling on September 23, 2017, stipulated the need for both parties to deposit the coordinates of the line so defined with the relevant bodies of the United Nations.
It is for this reason that a 16-member Implementation Committee, led by the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo visited their Ivorian counterparts about a week ago to brief them of Ghana’s intention to officially deposit their coordinates.
In a statement issued by the Secretary to the Committee, Mr Richard Addo Darko, the implementation stage is very important as it would assure investors of the safety of their investments and ensure that oil concession blocks can be given right up to the line.
He added that the safety of Ghana’s waters would further “attract the Majors and Super Majors to our deep-water environment to help make new discoveries that will increase Ghana’s oil output and ultimately, revenue for our national development.”
“Beside Seabed resources, the cooperation if well implemented will enhance maritime security, especially in the areas of illicit bunkering, piracy and hot pursuit as well as ensure the safety and peaceful co-existence of our fisher folks,” Mr Darko noted.
In this Together
Ghana’s French counterpart has further reiterated their readiness to ensure that the implementation constitutes success.
In a joint communiqué signed by both parties, they pledged to continue working together towards the implementation of the ITLOS ruling as well as to embark on continues engagements within the context of the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) signed between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire on 17th October, 2017.
The delegation that joined the Senior Minister to Ivory Coast included; Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Gloria Afua Akuffo, Minister for Justice & Attorney General, Peter Amewu, Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Lawrence Apaalse, Chief Director of the Ministry of Energy.
The rest are; Rear Admiral Beick-Baffour, Ghana Armed Forces-Navy, Richard Addo-Darko and Nana Adusei Poku of GNPC, Francis Ackah, Petroleum Commission and Isaac Larbi, Survey and Mapping Division.
In 2014, Ghana dragged its French neighbour to the special chamber of the ITLOS to annul claims that it had trespassed Cote d’Ivoire’s marine borders during the exploration of oil at Cape Three Points.
Ghana’s argument held that Cote d’Ivoire could not demand ownership of the disputed area since Cote d’Ivoire had for decades acknowledged that Ghana owned the space without any qualms until the oil discovery.
After a long haul, the Chamber in a unanimous decision on September 23 last year, ruled that there had not been any violation on the part of Ghana on Côte d’Ivoire’s maritime boundary.
President of the Chamber, Justice Boualem Bouguetaia on behalf of the Chamber accepted Ghana’s argument for adoption of the equidistance method of delineation of the maritime boundary.
By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/thePublisher