The Sierra Leone Maritime Authority (SLMA) through the Ministry of Transportation and Aviation on Tuesday 7th July 2015 commissioned five brand new naval boats at the Elizabeth II Quay, Freetown. These boats procured by SLMA and purchased from Europe shows the Government’s commitment to protect our territorial water from illegal fishing, piracy and responding to distress calls out at sea and do necessary search and rescue operations.
Among these five boats are: two search and rescue boats, two fast patrol boats and one multi-purpose boat.
The Sierra Leone Maritime Authority wants to ensure that maritime safety and rescue services in the country’s territorial water are their paramount objective. Sierra Leone is a maritime nation and the arrival of these boats will put Sierra Leone on the map as a country which has one of the countries that is practicing maritime safety.
The new boats were officially commissioned in consonance with the 100 buses by Vice President Ambassador Victor Bockarie Foh. He mentioned that it displeasing to see a country like Sierra Leone having just a single patrol boat at sea. As a responsible government, he stressed, they have responded to the people’s cry but purchasing these boats to make sure that our territorial water is safe from illegal activities.
According to the Executive Director of SLMA, Alhaji Wuroh Jalloh the purchasing of these boats will go down in history as this is the first time that SLMA has acquired such number of fleet. These boats will assist SLMA to enforce the maritime regulations specifically to the categories of boats which are operating in our territorial waters.
“We want to assure all those operators doing business at sea that the SLMA can now reach them at any time to inspect their boats,” said Mr. Jalloh.
Despite these new boats which shall boost the image of the maritime authority, it has also the global maritime distress safety system located at Murray Town which allows ships heading for Sierra Leone or passing through our territorial water to communicate ashore.
Mr. Jalloh assured all that these boats will be placed in strategic locations across the country’s territorial water so that the five riverine districts will also be covered. He maintained that SLMA is not a police force; therefore, it will coordinate with the Sierra Leone Police and the Republic of Sierra Leone Arm Forces for the effective use of the boats.
He sounded very optimistic that with consistency in the Government’s Agenda for Prosperity, Sierra Leone will only experience meaningful development and become more prosperous.
The Executive Director extended his gratitude to the Ministry of Finance Economic development, the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) and all valued stakeholders whose involvement made the project a success.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.