The Secretary General of the Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr. Paul Adalikwu, has commended the government of Sierra Leone for its many plans to develop the country’s maritime potentials.
Dr Adalikwu spoke in Free Town where he met Sierra Leonean Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Kabineh Moinama Kallon; Minister of State, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs. Mamadi Gobeh Kamara, and heads of maritime agencies, during her recent inaugural visit to the West African country.
He expressed support for the country’s decision to attract funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the Sierra Leone Ports Authority to develop a Harbor Master to fully maximize its fleet of approximately 331 vessels, representing a gross tonnage of 1,545,729 and over 9,000 sailors. He also pledged technical cooperation to help the maritime administration build its capacity to maximize the potential of its blue economy and promote a sustainable marine environment through cleaning up the coastline.
The SG of MOWCA also said that a properly harnessed Sierra Leone marine environment will, among other things, support the country’s job creation agenda for women and youth. Adalikwu, who hailed the country’s efforts to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in its territorial waters with the declaration of a ban on commercial fishing, said the valuable marine resources in West and Central Africa deserve state protection.
He said the temporary cessation of fishing activities would protect the environment from pollution and help to naturally replenish stocks of marine resources.
The MOWCA scribe described the country’s ratification of the 2006 Maritime Labor Convention as a historic state decision promoting fair labor practices, decent working and living conditions for seafarers in the world. Maritime Industry On 29 March 2022, Sierra Leone became the 99th ILO Member State to ratify the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006, as amended (MLC, 2006).
It is the 23rd country in Africa and the 9th in the West African sub-region to commit to this historic instrument. The MLC, 2006 will enter into force for Sierra Leone on March 29, 2023, one year after its ratification. He received assurances of the country’s support and commitment to MOWCA from the Minister of Transport and Aviation and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
He had technical engagements with Dr. Abdoulai Fofana, Director General of the Sierra Ports Authority and his management team with another separate session with the Director General of Sierra Leone Maritime Administration, Mr. Sama Ansu Gamanga . The visit was in fulfillment of Adalikwu’s promise to engage with Member States and update them on its roadmap for an effective and inclusive MOWCA.