LCDR Clinton S. Carlson, U.S. Africa Command Counter Narcotics & Law Enforcement Assistance Division wrote
On Friday 10 December, at 11 am, I had the distinct pleasure of being a guest of the government of Liberia as the recently completed Liberian Coast Guard pier and boat ramp were dedicated for use. As the project officer I am very well aware of the whole host of government offices, military units, and individuals who ultimately executed this project. This simple ceremony effectively closed out two years worth of concerted efforts.
Rather than reflect upon how absolutely pleased I am to be at the stage where I can “almost” move this to the completed column in my spreadsheets, as a coast guard officer I am even more delighted by the possibilities I see before us, opportunities presented by the completion of this seemingly simple (although in reality very challenging) project.
What this project does, is give the nascent Liberian coast guard (LCG) the ability to conduct round the clock, 24/7 operations. Narco traffickers do not return to port once the sun sets, but rather they conduct their business in the dark. Neither can it be said that that the illegal, unregulated, unreported fishing stops once dusk falls. Perhaps even more important, accidents requiring search and rescue efforts do not only occur during the day. The Liberian coast guard’s new pier and ramp will ultimately be used to respond to those events that do happen once the sun sets.
I remain phenomenally impressed by the speed with which the government of Liberia has grown her new coast guard. Two short years ago, there was no Liberian coast guard. Now today, a base of operations for the young Liberian Coast Guard exists. It has boats, and people, those sailors have and are being trained to meet the needs of the Liberian people, and soon, they will be able to respond to all challenges regardless of time of day, or weather conditions. Because of that the people of Liberia, their safety, commercial interests and laws and desires will be met by the dedicated men and women of the LCG. It remains an exciting time to be a Coasty in West Africa.
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