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Speech delivered by the Commissioner/CEO of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Cllr. Neto Zarzar Lighe at events marking the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Liberian Registry with the Greek Shipping Community @ Posidonia 2024

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,

It is indeed an honor to join you tonight to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberian Registry. This occasion is of great significance to the Liberian flag that has been flown across the vast oceans for the last 75 years by vessels delivering essential goods across the world. It is important on such an occasion to reflect on the enduring relationship between the Republic of Liberia and the Greek Shipping Community, a relationship that provided the strong foundation on which the Liberian Registry currently stands.

The Liberian Registry as we all know was founded in partnership with Greece’s rich maritime history, beginning with the first Liberian-flagged vessel, Stavros Niarchos’s “World Peace.” Today, Liberia is not only one of the largest registries among Greek shipowners, it is also the most trusted boasting on a legacy of upholding the highest standards of safety, security, and environmental protection. This historical accomplishment of Greek shippers is also part of Liberia maritime history, as we share in your success.

The support of Greek shipping community has been instrumental in the growth of the Liberian Registry, and has also contributed to vital local development in Liberia. Much needed resources derived from the Registry continue to have direct impact on Liberia. One notable example is the establishment of the Liberian Maritime Training Institute by the Registry. The Institute provides world-class maritime education to Liberian youth, and facilitates job placement for the career advancement of graduates. Liberia is incredibly proud of this relationship that is contributing positively to our local economy and growth potential.

Furthermore, Liberia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs remains a steadfast partner of the Registry. The Liberian government under the leadership of the Ministry of Affairs and Liberia Maritime Authority is committed to assisting the Registry and its shipowners and partners with the many global challenges that confront us today.

Whether they be the continued promotion of the principle of freedom of navigation or assisting with specific vessel security incidents, we will continue to be engaged in safeguarding the interests of Liberian-flagged vessels. In this regard, I am delighted to announce that the Republic of Liberia and the People’s Republic of China are in the final stages of renewing our cooperative maritime agreement. This agreement has and will continue to be an important source of cost savings to shipowners, and we expect the agreement to be finalized in the coming days.

As we continue to confront the wind of change thrust upon us by the complex global political events in the Middle East and other areas of the world, it is important that we build strong relationship between the Registry and shipowners. This is meant to foster the shared values of safety, security and environmental protection. Such a relationship will provide an easy avenue for open communication and collaboration in addressing issues affecting the safety and security of Liberian-flagged vessels. Most importantly, it will lead to the Registry exploring opportunities for the employment of more trained sea fearers and seamen onboard Liberian-flagged vessels. Through the Liberian Ship Owners Council based in Greece, this relationship can be more prosperous and benefitting to the mutual interests of the Registry and the many ship owners that comprised the council.

We must emphasize that the values which underpin the Liberian Registry, that is, the firm commitment to safety, security and environmental protection will be at the heart of our interaction with partners and stakeholders in the maritime industry. Our commitment to international maritime conventions and instruments, international security, combatting of terrorism and other crimes at sea, and fighting the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances remain firm.  

While we stress our commitment to upholding our values and urge all ship owners to remain committed to the shared values that have marked our interaction over the years, the Liberian Registry must remain at the forefront of the global maritime industry through the continued improvement of its services and the upgrading of its capacity to respond not only to the current trends but also to the emerging needs and demands of the industry. I have absolutely not an ounce of doubt that the Registry will remain a vibrant and dynamic force in the maritime industry in the many years to come.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to the global staff of the Liberian Registry for their hard work as well as the entire Greek shipping community for your trust and partnership. Our mutual support and cooperation have been longstanding and will continue to strengthen as we grow together.  The winds of change are upon us and to navigate these currents effectively, we must build strong relationships based on our mutual values and commitment to upholding safety, security and protecting the marine environment. Thank you and may God bless us all.

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