Maritime Investigation & Intelligence Unit

With a coastline of 579 kilometers, two international sea boundaries and a maritime claim of 200 nautical miles, the protection of Liberia's marine domain, including its ports, is of critical importance to the Government. As trade on the waterways increase in Liberia's territorial waters, thereby helping to boost the country's economy, issues surrounding piracy, smuggling, stowaways, terrorism, customs, over-fishing and the exploitation of natural resources must be considered. The Liberia Maritime Authority in May of 2009 set out to develop security policies aimed at improving the status of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) program, an amendment of SOLAS chapter 14 within the ports of Liberia. The establishment of the Technical Team on the implementation of the ISPS Code-Compliance has made significant achievement for the nation's maritime security winning commendation from the US Coast Guard and ensured the removal of the Freeport of Monrovia from the US Coast Guard Blacklist. The Team has also promulgated several maritime security related policy documents(code of discipline, standard operating Procedure, Administrative Manual amongst other) affecting reform in the Liberia Seaport Police (LSP) and the country's maritime security in general, as well as making the Freeport of Monrovia ISPS compliant. In June 2010, the Commissioner of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Hon. Binyah C. Kesselly, sanctioned the establishment of the Maritime Intelligence and Investigations Unit (MIIU), a marine surveillance gathering and investigations unit.

The Liberia Maritime Authority is therefore working with the appropriate international, regional and local entities to ensure the overall protection of Liberia's marine domain. Through effective coordination with other Security Agencies related to the enforcement of National Maritime laws, statutes and/or regulations, the unit has become an effective tool for reducing the threats posed to the Maritime Security in Liberia and its internal territorial water sources (including inland waterways and marine features). Their mission is guided by the fulfillment of all International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions in Liberia. This includes the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (Adopted 1988), the Convention on Oil Pollution (Adopted 1973), the Convention on Dumping of Waste and other Matters (adopted 1972), ISPS code (2004), SOLAS (1974), UNCLOS (1982) amongst others.

In March 2010 the MIIU and the Uniform Operative Unit were reformed into the Department of Maritime Security with additional responsibilities. As a Contracting Party to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, Liberia is required to implement the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code), which provides a consistent framework for governments and port authorities to achieve and maintain a "normal" security level and thereby reduce the vulnerability of the maritime industry. LiMA, as Designated Authority for implementation of the ISPS, is working in close collaboration with the National Port Authority to ensure that this comprehensive set of measures enhances the security of ships and port facilities in Liberia.

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