SLMA Hosts US Coast Guard Designated Coordinator to Sierra Leone 

By Edward Vamboi

Natalie J. Moyer, the outgoing U.S International Port Security Coast Guard, designated Coordinator to Sierra Leone, visited the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA) on Wednesday 12th and Thursday, 13th February, 2020.

The rationale behind the visit was to discuss findings of audit conducted by the US Coast Guard on ports facilities, safety and security in the country in respect to the International Ship and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

The team, which was led by the outgoing US Coast Guard Designated Coordinator to Sierra Leone, Natalie J. Moyer also included International Port Security Liaison Officers, Christopher Svencer and Daniel A Gonzales who were introduced by Natalie.

While reading findings of the reports, Natalie said, threats to the Maritime transportation industry are not limited to storms, shoals and other natural perils of the sea, highlighting that the actions of terrorists, pirates, smugglers, stowaways and criminals exploiting the sea for illicit ends have demonstrated the need for the world’s flag and port states to cooperatively reduce risk. Thus the reason, “the International Maritime Organization ((IMO) and its Members States developed the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code,” she added.

Moyer also mentioned that as an internationally accepted blueprint for maritime security measures, the ISPS Code serves as a sound foundation from which countries can build their own domestic maritime security system. Through it IPS Program, she said that the U.S Coast Guard is committed to assisting those nations that have not fully implemented the ISPS Code.

She stressed that the U.S Coast Guard is also committed to further engage with other maritime stakeholders to dialogue on security issues within the Maritime industry especially those partners that are going beyond the ISPS Code through advancement in their maritime operational capabilities, maritime situational awareness, and maritime governance. She pointed out that the efforts to reduce threats in the maritime industry require international cooperation in all flag and port’s nations.

Natalie applauded Government’s efforts in enhancing Maritime Safety and Security and Ports Security in the country; she especially commended SLMA and SLPA for stepping up in the execution of their mandates.

She mentioned that the U.S Coast Guard will consider providing training for SLMA and SLPA where necessary to enhance sea safety and ports security .She continued to say that the team will visit ports facilities in the country in order to ensure security compliance with the ISPS.

SLMA Executive Director Ken Philip Sondai said it saddened him when news broke out about the departure of Natalie. He said her expertise in the maritime and port security is unmatched.  He welcomed Svencer and Gonzales and hoped for better partnership in the International Port Security and safety business. He reaffirmed SLMA commitment to ensuring maritime safety and security in the country.

The Director of Marine Safety and Security at SLMA, Ibrahim Wurie, expressed his profound thanks and appreciation to the team. While reading the report on compliance of ports’ security in Sierra Leone, Director Wurie emphasized that SLMA has done its own draft of regulations to meet the ISPS code.

The U.S Coast Guard’s International Port Security (IPS) was established in 2003 to reinforce implementation of the ISPS Code in order to reduce risk to U.S Ports and Ships to their entire maritime transport systems.


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