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Commissioner Lighe Steps Up Liberia’s Preparedness For IMSAS Audit -Makes Technical Assessment Visit To Port of Buchanan


The Commissioner/CEO of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), Cllr. Neto Zarzar Lighe Sr. is taking deliberate steps to strengthen Liberia’s preparedness for the upcoming International Maritime Organization Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) scheduled to take place in November this year, by making sightseeing and technical assessment visit to the Port of Buchanan on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, to ascertain the country’s readiness for the audit.

According to Commissioner Lighe, the purpose of the visit was to acquaint himself with major actors within the maritime and port sectors in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County and to assess critical issues that are pertinent to the country’s successful outcome from the audit in place before the auditors get to Monrovia to do their work.

He visited the port facility of ArcelorMittal to establish the availability of safety of navigation devices that guide vessels berthing into the Port of Buchanan are installed, adequate, and maintained in line with international safety requirements. Cllr. Lighe was keen to ensure that the primary port user based on its concession operations has a regimented port reception facility supervised to avoid illegal dumping and spillage at sea.

In addition to environmental and navigational safety, the LiMA Boss, who is also the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Designated Authority, assessed the facility of the Port of Buchanan to verify that ISPS requirements are fully adhered to since it is mandated that all active ports receiving vessels over 500 gross tonnage be in compliance with the laid down security standards and ensure the updating of their security permits and certificates in accordance with international obligations and national requirements.

He was taken on a guided tour of both the Port of Buchanan and AML operation centers within the port to view the security, safety, and environment systems put in place to recommend corrective actions.

A sightseeing visit was also paid to the service center in the City of Buchanan which hosts several government offices including the Liberia Maritime Authority Buchanan Port State Control Office.

In a brief chat with the Buchanan Port Manager, Mr. Jonathan Kaipay, Commissioner Lighe disclosed plans to acquire a parcel of land for the construction of a modern Port State Control office building in proximity to the Port of Buchanan to handle operations for the ports of Buchanan, Greenville, and Harper. He indicated that Buchanan was chosen due to its geographical location and the volume of activities is about to burgeon.

Mr. Kaipay and the heads of the technical department at AML assured the Commissioner and his team of their willingness to cooperate and work to ensure that Liberia is prepared fully for the upcoming technical audit from the IMO.

Commissioner Lighe was accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner for Vessels Registration and Safety, Mr. John F. Harvey, and a team of technical staff led by Mr. Roger Teah.

The IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) commenced as a voluntary Scheme in 2006 and became a treaty obligation in January 2016. It aims to promote the consistent and effective implementation of applicable IMO instruments and to assist Member States to improve their capabilities while contributing to the enhancement of global and individual Member State's overall performance in compliance with the requirements of the instruments to which it is a Party.

The audit scheme, using the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code) as the audit standard, aims to provide an audited Member State with a comprehensive and objective assessment of how effectively it administers and implements those mandatory IMO instruments that are covered by the Scheme.

Audits under the Scheme became mandatory on 1 January 2016, when the majority of amendments to IMO instruments, adopted for the institutionalization of the Scheme, entered into force.

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