‘Our job at Maritime is to save life’


- Maritime boss

By Hassan G. Koroma

Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA) has disclosed that the administration was working assiduously to ensuring that the lives of passengers who use local maritime transportation are protected.

Alhaji Wurror Jalloh was speaking last week at the weekly press conference hosted at the Ministry of Information and Communications. He said the Maritime Administration has procured life jackets for local boat owners in a bid to ensure safety at sea.

He said one thousand eight hundred (1,800) life jackets were distributed nationwide in 2013, and that more such distribution is expected this year. He stressed the importance of the use of life jackets to mitigate against maritime accidents, recalling the tragic boat accident between Shenge and Tombo in 2009 which was exacerbated by the fact that passengers were not wearing life jackets.

He said the Administration would ensure such tragedy does occur in future.

However, few boat disasters have been reported after the ill-fated 2009 journey from Shenge to Tombo, with the most recent being in late December 2013, between Targrin to Freetown, leading to great loss of lives and property.

Alhaji Jalloh revealed that 600 life jackets have been distributed to boat owners in Tombo, and that gesture will be replicated this week in Rokupr in the Kambia District and Gbangbatoke in the Moyamba District.

He admonished local boat owners to always ensure passengers use life jackets as the Maritime Administration has deplored officers at wharfs across the country to monitor compliance to safety and security regulations.

The Executive Director said local boat captains have been trained to navigate boats and given license authorising them to ply inland waters and across neighbouring countries. He also called on the government “to help us with fire force personnel to help put out fire should in case fire incident take place”.