LiMA Hosts Brainstorming Workshop To Assess Liberia’s Preparedness For IMSAS Audit

The Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) through its Department
of Policy, Compliance and International Relations, on Wednesday, June 15, 2022
began a three-day stakeholders’ assessment workshop to continue brainstorming
efforts to ensure the country’s preparedness for the conduct of the
International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member States Audit Scheme (IMSAS).

Speaking at the joint stakeholders Assessment workshop at the
Monrovia Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRMRCC) on the Bushrod
Island, LiMA Deputy Commissioner for Domestic Vesssel Registration and Safety,
Cllr. Charles A, Gono, Jr. said the holding of the workshop was underpinned by
the fact that Liberia is preparing to be audited by the IMO in relations to the
country’s effectiveness in implementing its obligations as port state, flag
state and coastal state.

“Liberia is due to have IMO mandatory audit. We are here to
prepare. The audit will take through our responsibilities as a port state, as a
flag state and as a coastal state,” he stated.

According to Deputy Commissioner Gono, under these
obligations, Liberia is supposed to implement laws and regulations that will
empower the country to enforce all the requirements under the different
maritime jurisdictions.

He expressed optimism that the stakeholders will use the
three-day session to assess their preparedness to successfully undergo the
audit.

The Director of Policy, Compliance and International
Relations and Principal Focal Person of the IMSAS Audit, Mr. Roger Mengistu
Teah informed participants that the audit preparation process started in 2019 and
that the three-day event is intended to assess what has been achieved so far insofar
as Liberia’s preparation for the IMSAS is concerned.

He indicated that the process was interrupted by a force
majeure –Covid-19 that ignited a pause on the audit.

As a result of the global outbreak of Covid-19, Director Teah
said it was decided that Liberia along with other countries would be audited
virtually but the Liberia Maritime Authority as the Designated Authority
informed the IMO that Liberia was not prepared for the audit at that time.  

“The audit places a lot of responsibilities on us. And these
responsibilities are categorized in three different sections: we are going to
be assessed on our port state functions; our coastal state functions as well as
our flag state function. So, anything that has to do with stakeholders in this
room is tied to these three areas,” he pointed out.

According to him, the workshop would seek to bring
stakeholders up to speed with the methodologies used by the IMO during the
audit; the accepted standard that would be used during the audit – the IMO
Instruments Implementation Code (III Code) as the audit standard which aims to
provide an audited Member State with a comprehensive and objective assessment
of how effectively it administers and implements those mandatory IMO
instruments which are covered by the Scheme.

Mr. Roger indicated that the scheme started as a voluntary
initiative that member states that wanted to assess their strengthen and
processes of implementing critical IMO instruments would request voluntarily to
be audited but the scheme has since become a treaty obligation that seeks to
promote the consistent and effective implementation of applicable IMO
instruments and to assist Member States to improve their capabilities, whilst
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.

To institutionalize the scheme, the LiMA Policy, Compliance
and International Relations Direrctor said a number of IMO instruments were
amended: the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as
amended (SOLAS 1974) (resolution MSC.366(93)); the International
Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers,
1978, as amended (STCW 1978) (resolution MSC.373(93); the Seafarers’
Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW Code)
(resolution MSC.374(93); the Protocol of 1988 relating to the
International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (1988 Load Lines Protocol), as
amended (resolution MSC.375(93); the Convention on the International
Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, as amended (COLREG 1972)
(resolution A.1085(28)); the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966
(LL 1966) (resolution A.1083(28)); the International Convention on Tonnage
Measurement of Ships, 1969 (TONNAGE 1969), (resolution A.1084(28)); the
Annex of the Protocol of 1978 Relating to the International Convention for the
Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 (resolution MEPC.246(66)); and annex
of the Protocol of 1997 to Amend the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution
from Ships, as Modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto
(resolution MEPC.247(66)).

He mentioned that as a Focal Person on this audit, he would
work with his team across all stakeholder institutions to ensure that Liberia
gets good rating in the aftermath. He added that a flying colour would position
the second largest flag state country in a way that is representative of its
stature.

Other facilitators at the workshop include: Mr. John Harvey,
Director of Port State Control and Mr. Anthony T. Twe, Director of Domestic
Vessels Registration.

The three-day event has brought together stakeholders from
the National Port Authority (NPA), Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC),
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Fisheries and Aquaculture
Authority (NaFAA), Law Reform Commission, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of
Justice, Ministry of National Defence represented by the Coast Guard, National
Disaster Management Agency, APM Terminals, Ministry of Mines and Energy,
Arcelor Mittal  

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