The global challenge of piracy and international terrorism has become a dominant concern not just for western countries, but the entire world. There’s a new paradigm shift which compels nations of the world to conform to international norms that ensure the protection of international ships and maritime domain.
Liberia, as a member of the comity of nations, and also, a respected power in the international ship industry is conscious of this reality. Therefore, the West African nation has developed security policies to improve the status of international shipping business and port facility.
As a consequence, the protection of Liberia’s marine domain, including its ports, is of critical importance to the Liberian government, not only for global trade, but also for genuine security reason. Against this background, the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) has taken steps to address all security issues regarding marine and ship intelligence.
In order to accentuate some important steps that have been taken in dealing with future cases of maritime intelligence and investigation, LiMA has completed a security hub in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County that would host officers of the Maritime Intelligence Unit (MIU) who are assigned in Buchanan.
The Commissioner of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), Binyan Kisselley, who explained the significance of the building, told a team of Journalists that the building is a strategic security center not only for security officer, but also, other state security.
He said the decision to acquire the building was necessary to ensure that officers of the maritime intelligence unit are in the same building while they vigilantly perform their duties.
Mr. Kesselley informed the media that the port of Buchanan, which is the third largest port in Liberia, will be a busy place shortly, as the steel giant Mittal and other companies, prepare to increase shipment of iron ore while the number of vessels are now berthing at the Buchanan pier have increased dramatically over the years.
“Our men are highly trained and skillful. They have the capacity to conduct inspection and investigate cases of maritime issues surrounding piracy, smuggling, terrorism, customs, over-fishing and the exploitation of natural resources, the Commissioner said with confidence.
The head of Maritime’s Buchanan security hub, Manyu Kamara, informed journalists that the regional security hub is security center built purposely for maritime intelligence officers trained to inspect and investigation vessels that have dock into Liberia.
Manyu said the building was an unfinished structure leased from a Liberian. According to him, renovation cost US$79,000 excluding furniture items.
It is an ideal location and maritime officials said the Buchanan post would serve as a regional office for post in the southeastern region.
Maritime has already developed security policies aimed at improving the status of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) program, an amendment of SOLAS chapter 14 within the ports of Liberia. The establishment of the Technical Team on the implementation of the ISPS Code-Compliance has made significant achievement for the nation’s maritime security thus winning commendation from the US Coast Guard and ensured the removal of the Freeport of Monrovia from the US Coast Guard Blacklist.