Impact of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community’s merchant shipping instruments on Cameroon’s maritime legislation
Keywords:Maritime legislation, Dual legal system, Regional instruments, International standards, Central African Economic, Monetary Community
The regulation of the shipping industry is deeply rooted in treaties or agreements- whether bilateral, multilateral, or of a global scope. Where such treaties emanate from a regional or sub-regional organization, however, it all depends on whether the organization in question is geared towards loose cooperation or formal integration. A loose cooperation-oriented organization such as the Gulf of Guinea Commission does not have treaty-making competence. On the other hand, a formal integration-oriented organization such as the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (known by its French acronym, CEMAC) usually develops instruments that tend to heavily impact the legislative framework of its member-states. The impact of the latter organization’s Merchant Shipping Code regime on Cameroon can be seen from what the country has achieved in terms of modernizing its maritime legislation and providing solutions to the challenges inherent in its dual legal system. The CEMAC Merchant Shipping Code (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Sub-regional Shipping Code’) must also be perceived as a component of Cameroon’s overall effort geared towards meeting international maritime legislative implementation and enforcement standards. However, the challenges confronting Cameroon at these various levels are huge, notably in light of the country’s inability at this point to fit into the recent International Instruments Implementation (III) Code scheme, which happens to be the single most important implementation and enforcement tool put in place to date by the International Maritime Organization. Questions thus arise as to the adequacy of the Sub-regional Shipping Code regime in addressing these challenges. This article is an appraisal of the said regime in its perceived role as a vehicle for developing Cameroon’s maritime legislation and addressing the related challenges inherent in the country’s dual legal system. The methodology adopted is doctrinal in approach and involves a content analysis of primary and secondary data. The article concludes that regional cooperation is a crucial complementary means by which to achieve good maritime governance and recommends that Cameroon should work towards achieving an enhanced Sub-regional Shipping Code regime, as well as an improved status of ratification in respect of international maritime instruments, complemented precisely by meaningful relations with cooperation-oriented bodies, especially the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control.
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