Athens — Deputy House Speaker Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa has called for the expansion of Liberia’s position in the international maritime industry, which will allow the country to regain its place as the number one registry in the world.
The Deputy Speaker said although the sector has contributed to the Liberian economy over the years, it still has great potential to do more.
He was speaking at Posidonia 2022, the world’s largest international shipping exhibition taking place in Athens, Greece.
This year’s gathering is the first since the coronavirus pandemic and brings together nearly 2000 exhibitors from 88 countries. The event runs from June 6-10 and was opened by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The Deputy Speaker, who headed the Liberian delegation, said while the country remains the fastest growing registry in the world and the best in terms of service, it still needs to work harder in order to win back its rightful stature amongst the comity of maritime nations. With over 5000 ships flying its flag grossing 200 million tons, Liberia is the second largest registry in the world but rated as best in terms of service.
Liberia further consolidated its position as the preeminent registry in Greece after it passed the 1500 mark of the number of Greek ships flying the Lone Star.
In recent years maritime stakeholders in Liberia, led by the Commissioner of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, have ramped up efforts to ensure that Liberia is recognized as a leader in the industry.
Last year he told officials of the International Maritime Organization that the country continues to make huge contributions to the IMO, “not only financial but towards the crafting of conventions, regulations, and guidelines,” which he said have enabled the organization and the sector to grow considerably; “so we must have a greater role”.
This position was echoed by Deputy Speaker Koffa in Greece, who told the audience in Athens that the sector posseses great employment potential that the youth of Liberia ought to benefit from.
Meanwhile, the Executive Council of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark has voted unanimously to readmit Liberia as a member.
In a communication to Commissioner Nagbe, IALA Secretary-General Francis Zachariae expressed delight that Liberia was back after several decades.
Liberia joined the organization in 1975 but withdrew its membership under the military regime in 1983.