February 6, 2019
When approached by the Liberian government in 2010, the United States government gladly accepted the challenge to help re-establish the Liberian Coast Guard as a specialized maritime law enforcement unit within the Armed Forces of Liberia. After 9 years of investing in the development of the new Liberian Coast Guard, we are proud to celebrate with you today, Liberia’s substantially improved capacity to protect the vital coast, ports, and citizens of this nation.
The United States has provided support to the Liberian Coast Guard by training and equipping Coast Guard personnel and by building new infrastructure, as many of you saw recently at the Freeport in Monrovia and now here in Buchanan.
The U.S. government has provided a grant – not a loan – a gift, to the people of Liberia to fund the base refurbishment and station construction at the Freeport in Monrovia, and procured all the necessary vessels and equipment including the 6 patrol crafts, 16 Zodiac boats, 4 Ford trucks, spare boat engines and parts for the Liberian Coast Guard. We’ve also assisted in the recruiting and vetting of over 100 personnel, providing specialized maritime security and law enforcement training in the United States, other countries, and in Liberia.
In Buchanan, the United States government funded the construction of this Boathouse and Boat ramp at a cost of approximately $1.7 million USD. I’m also proud to share that the permanent fixed pier being constructed at the Freeport is almost complete, and represents an additional grant of over $1M USD.
The United States government’s efforts are fully aligned with Liberia’s National Security Strategy.
The establishment of the Liberian Coast Guard Station Buchanan will advance our goal of assisting Liberia in its efforts to enhance regional and maritime security that can combat transnational crime and improve food security by deterring illegal fishing. This new Coast Guard Station will expand the Liberian Coast Guard’s operational capability to protect Liberia’s territorial waters in the port city of Buchanan, and beyond. With this increased capability and capacity, the Liberian Coast Guard can better respond to foreign poaching, conduct search and rescue, and lead in disaster response.
The U.S. government is committed to continuing the process of developing a Liberian Coast Guard that is capable of patrolling and protecting all of Liberia’s territorial waters. To accomplish this goal, Liberia will need to expand beyond the current Coast Guard Bases in the Freeport of Monrovia and Buchanan and eventually establish a presence in Greenville and Harper. However, growing a strong Liberian Coast Guard will require a sustained commitment from the Liberian government to maintain the progress achieved and will require trained, experienced and dedicated crew and leaders with appropriate logistic support systems.
The United States knows that President Weah takes no responsibility more seriously than ensuring the safety of his citizens, the security of Liberia’s key economic and infrastructure installations, and the protection of Liberia’s borders. So we will continue to support you in this effort, and remain committed to the security and prosperity of Liberia.