LIBERIA: Maritime Commissioner- Designate Lighe unveils plans to boost coastal and inland transportation


The Commissioner-Designate of the Liberian Maritime Authority(LiMA), Atty. Neto Z. Lighe,
has unveiled what appeared to be a transformative plan aimed at creating a viable maritime program that promotes and sustains economic growth and reduces unemployment.
At his confirmation hearing on Thursday, March 7, 2024, Atty. Lighe told the Senate Committee on Maritime, that the government “must be deliberate about supporting and developing coastal transportation, inland water transportation network, and ship bunkering services, dry-docking and ship support services, ship demolition and recycling.”
He said “under my stewardship, the Liberia Maritime Authority will contribute to the achievement of the Transportation Pillar of the ARREST Agenda of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai by providing alternative means of transportation through coastal and inland water transportation.”
The LiMA Commissioner-Designate disclosed that while the central Government concentrates on interconnecting our nationwide road network, the Authority will ensure the safe movement of people through coastal transport, especially coastal transportation between Monrovia and the southeast which is safe, secure and affordable.
According to him, when investments are made in coastal and inland water transportation, it will lead to the creation of a blue economy for Liberia, adding also that it will as well support sustained economic growth, poverty reduction and employment for thousands of Liberians across the country.
“As defined by the World Bank, a blue economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources to benefit economies, livelihoods while retaining ocean ecosystem health,” Commissioner Lighe said.
His plans for the transport sector, he added, is due to the challenging condition of road transport to the southeast and the high cost of air transport to the region.
Coastal seaborne transport, he noted, provides a much more convenient and affordable alternative means of transport which must be regulated to ensure safety and compliance with applicable maritime conventions.
“This multimodal approach to addressing Liberia’s transportation challenges will provide much needed relief to our people. We will, therefore, work to make this vital transport segment that supports the economy of the southeast vibrant and safe.”

Atty. Lighe revealed that his leadership will seek to increase the student enrollment at the country’s maritime training school in Marshall, while also ensuring that “more young Liberians are provided full scholarships to study specialized maritime disciplines at the Regional Maritime University in Ghana, the World Maritime University in Sweden and other reputable maritime universities.”
Cadets, he said, who are working onboard vessels will be provided the opportunity to do their officers courses after acquiring the required sea time, in keeping with the international maritime law and standards, when cross examined by senators.
With regard to the Liberia Maritime Authority statutory mandate, and in addition to ensuring clean beaches and a secured marine environment, Atty. Lighe explained that his leadership will work to ensure the safety and seaworthiness of all pleasure watercrafts and other motorized boats that will be used for tourism purposes.
“This will involve the promulgation of regulations to govern the operation of motorized pleasure boats, and the proper inspection and registration and the issuance of the requisite certificates and licenses. In addition, the cleaning of the Mesurado River as a part of our intervention under the sanitation pillar of the ARREST Agenda will serve as a tourist attraction and social activities by residents.”
He promised that his leadership will design and implement policies to attract investment in these sub-sectors within Liberia’s Maritime Domain.

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