Liberia to Engage Russian Counterparts at IMO for Unconditional Release of Seized Liberian Flagged Ship Smarta

Liberia Maritime Authority Commissioner, Lenn Eugene Nagbe

MONROVIA – The Commissioner of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), Lenn Eugene Nagbe, has told FrontPageAfrica that the authority is working assiduously with Russian counterparts to have the Liberian flagged vessel, SMARTA, released unconditionally to its owners.

The Smarta was seized by Russian-controlled separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine.

The Smarta, according to Reuters, was last in the news in April, when Russian forces seized the port area in Mariupol and detained the vessel’s Ukrainian crew.

At least half a dozen commercial vessels were trapped at Mariupol when the Russian invasion began in February, and the region’s new Russian-appointed government has already threatened to appropriate these ships for its own uses.

However, Commissioner Nagbe says “We are utilizing diplomatic channels to engage with the Russian authorities to have the vessel unconditionally released.

Upon my instruction, Liberia’s Permanent Mission at the International Maritime Organization has directly engaged with our Russian counterparts all in an effort to secure the release of the vessel in question. We are also in regular contact with the owners of the Smarta.”

Commissioner Nagbe maintained that the Liberia Maritime Authority remains aligned with the International Maritime Organization and that all seafarers and the shipping industry are protected at all times.

He expressed optimism that a solution would soon be found for the Smarta.

The Liberian Maritime Program is currently recognized as the second-largest ship registry in the world.   Its activities are governed by the Liberia Maritime Laws [Title 21 of the Liberian Code of Laws revised], with a mandate to regulate all foreign and domestic waterborne commerce, enforce maritime treaties, including Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS); Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); the Standards for Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers (STCW) and the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).

The Liberian Registry is comprised of 5,000+ vessels aggregating over 200 million gross tons, representing 14 percent of the world’s ocean-going fleet. Liberia has earned international respect for its dedication to flagging the world’s safest and most secure vessels. The Liberian Registry is recognized at the top of every industry “white list” including the International Maritime Organization and the major Port State Control authorities. As a founding member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Liberia has taken a leading role in global shipping at a very early stage and continues to be a voice for shipowners at IMO. 

The Liberian Registry is administered by the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR, LLC), a private U.S.-owned and globally operated company. LISCR is internationally recognized for its professionalism and commitment to reducing redundant workflow procedures in order to increase efficiency. The Registry is managed by industry professionals who understand the business of shipping and corporate structures. Its proficient administration is one of the most effective and tax-efficient ship and corporate registries in the world.