Liberia’s Fisheries Boss Calls for Concerted Efforts in the Ratification of the ‘2012 Cape Town Agreement’

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MONROVIA – The Director-General of Liberia’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), Madam Emma Metieh Glassco is admonishing all governments consistent with international best practices and for the safety of fishing crew to ratify the 2012 Cape Town Agreement.

Hon. Glassco said global action is needed to drastically help in mitigating casualties at sea, stressing that fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.  

“According to ILO, the number of fishermen casualty at Sea per annum is more than 24,000”, the fisheries governance expert averred.

Speaking Wednesday, February 24, 2021 during the International Maritime Organization (IMO)-United Nations Webinar on the Ratification and Implementation of the 2012 Cape Town Agreement, Hon. Glassco called on world governments to adopt policies consistent with the 2012 Cape Town Agreement on the design and construction of new vessels.

The NaFAA Boss who pledged the Liberian government’s support towards the ratification of the Cape Town Agreement, urged World governments to prioritize routine safety training for seafarers at least once a year.

The NaFAA Boss cautioned flag states, coastal states and port states to see the need to adopt what she referred to as stronger policies such as high fines and sanctions in domestic laws and policies that would deter potential violators.

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement (CTA), which has been adopted by the IMO, replaces the Torremolinos Protocol of 1993 on the safety of fishing vessels.

This convention mirrors the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), an internationally binding treaty on safety for merchant vessels, of which Liberia is a contracting party that entered into force since 1980.

The CTA when entered into force by the ratification or accession of 22 states and 3,600 eligible fishing vessels, will set the minimum requirements on the design, construction, equipment, and inspection of fishing vessels 24 meters and above that operate on the high sea. Until the CTA enters into force, there are no mandatory global safety regulations or standards for the safety of fishing vessels at sea.

Most recently, in 2019, Liberia, through NaFAA under the forward-looking leadership of DG Glassco, acceded and ratified the Port State Measure Agreement (PSMA) – FAO’s United Nations fisheries instrument to ensure legality and safety of fishing operations. She has also been able to strengthen NaFAA’s legal regime with the passage of a new Fisheries and Aquaculture Management and Development Law and acceded to many other international protocols in this regard.

Considering Liberia as a leading maritime nation with the second largest open registry, it is required of her to take the lead in these discussions building on the gains made. However, Liberia is currently reviewing the possibilities of ratifying the CTA.  

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