LISCR, the U.S.-based company which runs the Liberian Registry, has called for
the UN to set up a fully transparent scheme to audit the funds received by
the government from Liberia's shipping registry.
A new UN Panel of Experts Report has revisited the issue of diversion of
funds from the Registry income. However this Panel, unlike it predecessors,
has confused LISCR with the former Bureau of Maritime Affairs in Liberia.
The Panel has acknowledged its error and, in an addendum to its Report, has
made it clear that its allegations relate to the former Liberian government,
not LISCR or the Registry. These corrections have also been included in
oral reports by the Panel to the UN Security Council and in the Panel's
presentation to the UN Sanctions Committee.
Yoram Cohen, LISCR's ceo, commented, "Inaccurate reports which recycle anti
open register propaganda do not help Liberia at all. We have always been
cooperative and have given the UN full disclosure. It is unfortunate that
the Panel did not contact us to ask simple questions before producing their
report. Their addendum helps to clarify the mistakes, but we would prefer a
transparent system which prevents such a situation arising again."
Cohen went on to say "Despite the Panel's confirmation of the Registry's
clean bill of health, LISCR is adamant that the UN should put in place a
publicly reported auditing scheme to international standards. We made it
clear at our meeting with the Panel earlier this week that LISCR would
to see a UN-backed audit, to include the Registry, to give a comprehensive
and transparent picture of the income to the government and its ultimate
expenditure in Liberia."
Cohen added "Since January 1, 2000, LISCR has been able to increase the
amount of vessels and tonnage of the Liberian Registry, while retaining the
very highest standards of safety and security. Liberia is universally
acknowledged as a leader in international safety and security standards, a
fact that the UN Panels on Liberia have always acknowledged."
C. Gyude Bryant, chairman of the National Transitional Government of
Liberia, acknowledged the concerns of shipowners and confirmed, "All
revenues from the maritime program will be used by the government to address
the urgent humanitarian needs of the Liberian people and enable our
government to provide other essential and basic services."
Last week Chairman Bryant noted, "The installation of a new government,
which is being fully supported by the international community, provides an
opportunity to further improve the image of the Liberian maritime and
corporate program. I confirm the Liberian National Transitional
Government's total and unqualified support for the Liberian maritime and
corporate program being managed by LISCR."
Commissioner-designate of Maritime Affairs, J. D. Slanger, commented, "The
government of Liberia has absolute confidence in the Liberian maritime and
corporate registry being managed by LISCR. We have had the opportunity to
study extensively the agreement signed between LISCR and the Republic of
Liberia in 1999 and find it completely satisfactory and fair. The National
Transitional Government gives total and unqualified support to LISCR as
agent of the maritime and corporate program. LISCR is prepared at any time
to open their books for a United Nations financial
audit or audit by an
internationally recognized accounting firm to dispel any misapprehension."
Slanger said, "The Registry is one of the most resilient assets of our
nation. Even through difficult times, the maritime registry has continued to
prosper under the management of LISCR. Mr. Cohen has assured me that LISCR
will continue to be transparent in their relations with the Republic of
Liberia and we look forward to a long lasting and mutually beneficial
relationship with LISCR. I plan to work closely with LISCR to ensure the
continuous growth of the Liberian maritime and corporate registry."
Cohen summed up LISCR's position, "I have made clear to the National
Transitional Government the concerns of the international shipping community
that the Government of Liberia exhibit a high-degree of transparency and
responsibility in the use of income which the Government derives from the
maritime program. I am pleased by, and confident in, Chairman Bryant's
declared commitment to use the revenues of the Liberian Registry for
humanitarian purposes. I believe that the best way the Security Council can
help Liberia is for an international auditing scheme to be put in place,
ensuring full transparency. That would help shipowners, it would help us to
continue to give those owners the best and safest significant registry in
the world, and it would help the Liberian people to enjoy their heritage in
* The Liberian Registry is one of the world's largest and most
active open registers, with a more than fifty-year track record of combining
the highest standards for vessels and crews with the highest standards of
responsive service to owners. It is proud to be in the top group of the
Paris MOU White List of high-standard flags and the top ranked significant
registry on the USCG Port State Control rankings. Almost 2,000 vessels of 55
m gt currently fly the Liberian flag