Thursday last week marked yet another memorable day at the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA), Government Warf in Freetown when the Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Ibrahim Kargbo deputized His Excellency, President Ernest Bai Koroma to commission a new pilot boat for the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA). It turned out to be a dual role played by the minister as he was also opportuned to commission Maritime Administration’s Search and Rescue Boat. SLPA’s new acquisition, M.V Rokel is ‘the beginning of re-branding the Authority,’ so noted the General Manager, Benjamin O Davis.
Captain Davies noted that the craft will ease considerably the riverine activities of the Authority’s Harbour Division. He on that note thanked all those who contributed in diverse ways to help Ports acquire the boat.
For his part, the Chief Executive of the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA), Mr. Philip Lukulay said the commissioning of the search and rescue boat was another actualization of the president’s vision to turnaround the maritime sector. “The commissioning of a search and rescue boat is a clear indication of our commitment in actualizing the President’s vision to invigorate the maritime sector.”
He said the availability of a boat for that purpose would go a long way in ensuring a drastic reduction in sea disasters, adding, “the type of sea disaster that occurred in Shenge in September 2009 will not be repeated.”
Reading the Presidential keynote address, the Information minister said for too long the authority has been operating without a pilot boat. “For over decades now, there has been no pilot boat for the Sierra Leone Ports Authority. Pilots had to use the only Tug Boat the Authority currently has as a Pilot Boat to board vessels at the entrance to the Port and bring them to berth,” he said. He informed that Tug Boats are not designed for such a purpose; though he said our pilots had risked their lives in their commitment to their noble duty and exemplary love for this country to sail out in local pampas to board mighty ocean-going vessels and bring them to berth. He ended by commending the two institutions to continue keeping the country’s flag high in maritime business.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.