After 15 years: Liberia Removed From US Coast Guard Advisory List
The Coast Guard of the United States of America has announced in its Federal Register that it is removing the conditions of entry on vessels arriving from the Republic of Liberia into the United States.
The Coast Guard said it has determined that the Republic of Liberia is now maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures in its ports, and has issued a Port Security Advisory (PSA 2-20), removing Liberia from the list of countries that do not.
“The Republic of Liberia is removed from the list of the countries affected in paragraph B of the Port Security Advisory. Therefore, effective immediately, actions required in paragraphs C and D of this Port Security Advisory are no longer required for vessels arriving in the United States after visiting ports in the Republic of Liberia,” the U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Advisory (2-20) stated.
This decision has saved vessels arriving from Liberia the embarrassment of special security measures upon arrival in the US.
On May 2, 2005, the Coast Guard published a Notice in the Federal Register, (70 FR 22668), announcing that it had determined that effective anti-terrorism measures were not in place in the ports of the Republic of Liberia. Accordingly, conditions of entry were imposed on vessels that visited the Republic of Liberia in their last five port calls. However, based on recent assessments conducted in 2018, the Coast Guard said it has determined that the Republic of Liberia is maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures, and is accordingly removing the conditions of entry announced in the previously published Notice.
Other countries still on the US list not maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures are Cambodia, Cameroon, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Madagascar, Micronesia, Nauru, Nigeria, Republic of Seychelles, Sao Tome and Principe, Syria, Timor-Leste, Venezuela and Yemen.
In an interview with newsmen, the Commissioner of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), Lenn Eugene Nagbe, emphasized the commitment of the Liberian government to remain compliant with stipulated U.S. counter-terrorism measures and other international protocols governing maritime security.
The US Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy, has thanked the Liberian government for helping fight terrorism and sanctions violation. He urged the authorities to continue to take positive steps that would ensure they are complaint with local and international sanctions.
The removal of Liberia from the list of countries for its effective implementation of anti-terrorism measures is said to be the direct result of the work of Global Tracking and Maritime Solutions Holdings (GTMS Holdings), a maritime company that is known for its prudent work in cargo tracking of potential terrorism activities and other illicit products at sea amongst others.
In 2018, the Government of Liberia (GOL) selected GTMS Holdings to become the Exclusive General Managing Agent with the License to implement the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) system in the country’s maritime/ports system and ensure full compliance in this regard. The CTN is a system that requires Advanced Data Declaration and the full integrity of the data from Shippers (imports & Exports)/Freight Forwarders before cargo arrives in a country. This system does not only pre-inform ports of expected cargo and all other security measures but helps them better prepare to scrutinize cargo entering the nation’s ports, as required by the ISPS Code Part B of the SOLAS Convention.
GTMS Holdings is a UK-based company which was first established in 2014 and has created an effective and efficient cargo-tracking system virtually, interlinking all major ports to a central global database system using a SAAS and physical architecture employing the latest technology, infrastructure and human capacity.
This company was also responsible for the successful introduction and implementation of the CTN System in neighboring Sierra Leone as the Exclusive General Managing Agent from 2014 to 2019; as such, it comes as no surprise that they have been able to play such a pivotal role in helping the national port of Liberia meet its international compliance.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GTMS Holdings, Sahr William Ngegba, is reported as saying, “This is great news for not only Liberia but for West Africa as a whole. The potential and future of shipping and maritime industry in Africa is unimaginable. What the world is seeing today is an acceleration of digital industrialization. For Africa to take advantage of this new wave of global industrialization, there is an urgent necessity for our ports to be fully compliant to meet the opportunities of global trade and such industrial revolution. What has happened to Liberia ports does not only tremendously help Liberia in global compliance but will help reduce freight rates, insurance cost usually levied on ports that are classified within such list and so much more. Such classification is the security aspect to meet in relation for all global ports not just the United States.”