The Sierra Leone Ambassador to Belgium with accreditation to other countries, including Greece, HE Samuel Tamba Musa, has held a productive meeting with the Greek Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, Ioannis Plakiotakis, with whom the Ambassador explored shipping opportunities for Sierra Leone.
Greece is one of the leading nations in respect of worldwide shipping as it is traditionally a major maritime hub with over 5000 ships spread worldwide.
During the meeting, Ambassador Musa informed the Minister that he is aware of the dominant role of Greece in the shipping industry and over the years, they have watched this grow, adding that President Bio is also keen to explore the advantages of working with the shipping industry in Greece by reaching out to the Maritime Agency to know what they are doing.
Sierra Leone and Greece, HE Musa echoed, have lots of similarities, one of which is that both have their landmass spread around the Atlantic ocean, with lots of movements of ships.
The Ambassador further stated that “as a nation, given our geographical location, we would want to participate in the wider international shipping industry and find ways to foster partnerships”.
Ambassador Musa said that he is fully aware of the challenges in the industry, especially with climate change, and the different things that need to be done to ensure the safety and security of seafarers.
These, he said, are major concerns as there are lots of people who join the shipping industry in different capacities. “I believe that working together and creating a deeper understanding will also help improve our own capacity because you have vast knowledge, hugely advantages, coupled with experiences and the proportion of the industry that you command,” he maintained.
The Sierra Leone Ambassador disclosed: “So I came here with the view that there are possibilities of working together.”
Ambassador Musa also told Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis that Sierra Leone is looking to expand its water transportation which depends mainly on ferries, adding that the issue of maintenance of the ferries is always a concern.
The Greece Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy Ioannis Plakiotakis in his statement presented a data of the shipping industry in Greece, stating that as the leading worldwide power with respect to shipping, his country represents more than 21% of the global tonnage and 58% of the European union stack and they account for more than 5000 ships worldwide, as such shipping is therefore considered a national asset and represents more than 7% of the country’s GDP.
With respect to the new environmental rules and climate change, he said what they are thinking about is how to reach the goals they have set which may include the short, the medium and the long term measures in order to reduce gas emissions from ships.
The Minister went on to reveal that Greece is proposing the use of advanced technology and a far higher investment into Research and Development for alternative fuels and technologies.
The Minister spoke further about migration challenges disclosing that Greece has saved over 1000 lives of people trying to enter their country through the seas.
He then went on to conclude that sharing technologies and experiences was a mutually beneficial pathway.
The Minister recommended that the Embassy should work with staff designated from the Ministry to put together potential areas of cooperation.