Liberia Maritime Commissioner Eugene Lenn Nagbe has called for reforms to the organizational and operational structures of International Maritime Organization (IMO) in order to reflect the significant roles played by Liberia and other major maritime nations at the IMO.
He said Liberia must be given a greater representation at all levels of the world maritime body because of its numerous contributions to the sector.
“We continue to make huge contributions to the IMO, not only financial but towards the crafting of conventions, regulations and guidelines which have enabled the organization and the sector to grow considerably so we must have a greater role”, Commissioner Nagbe said.
“We are the second largest due-paying member of the IMO”, he continued, while referencing the more than 4000 ships that fly the Liberian flag and the superior quality of the country’s registry.
He called on the body to make some administrative changes that will include more qualified Liberians into the IMO system as well as provide technical support to aid the country’s maritime program.
The Liberian Maritime Chief told the IMO Secretary-General “we will be sponsoring various resolutions aimed at achieving the reforms we believe necessary to enhance growth and efficiency in the organization and the maritime industry as a whole”.
The Commissioner was speaking during a visit to the IMO office in London where he held discussions with the Secretary General Kitack Lim and other officials.
During the meeting he presented a check of £3,872,680 (Three Million, Eight Hundred & Seventy-two Thousand, Six Hundred & Eighty Pounds) as Liberia’s annual contribution to the IMO. The amount, equivalent to U.S. $5.3M(Five Point Three Million Dollars), makes Liberia the second largest contributor to the IMO annual operational budget. The payment is based on the over 4,500 vessels under the Liberian Registry (flag) with 200 million GRT (gross registered tons).
Commissioner Nagbe added that it is the hope of Liberia that the IMO will take some key steps to tackle cyber security on ships in order to protect against cyber interference and ensure the safety of vessels. He also called on the Secretary-General to continue to do more towards the welfare of seafarers. “Without seafarers, there would be no global maritime trade”, he said.
The Commissioner highlighted the need for more concerted efforts from the International Maritime Organization to increase collaboration, coordination and communications among member states to tackle the increasing attacks on vessels.
Receiving the check, the Secretary-General of the IMO, Kitack Lim said Liberia remains a key player in the advancement of the work of the organization and the reforms it is undertaking.
Lim thanked the Liberian government for the many contributions to the IMO, noting that both financial and technical support are very much important instruments for the growth of the International Maritime Organization.
“Liberia is a key player at the IMO”, he said, “and I am so very close to Liberia. I got my first professional certificate as a seaman more than 40 years ago from Liberia so we will continue to work with you for the benefit of all sides”.
He praised the team at the Liberian Permanent mission for the professional manner in which they are steering the affairs of the mission. “I also want to say Liberia has some of the best and highly skilled technicians and diplomats that are contributing both technical and diplomatic support to the IMO. Liberia remains a strategic partner to the advancement of the work of the IMO”.
“Your alternate Permanent Representative, Mr. Harry Conway, is vice chairman of the IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MPEC). And your current representation at the IMO is no doubt ready and prepared to deal with some of the most complex and challenging issues we have at the IMO”, he said.