Liberia’s first postwar ship, built by 10 Liberians and three Chinese nationals, has been finally commissioned. The ship is ready for business, and to deliver diesel (D2) and other commodities to five counties.
The proxy for Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, George T. Nimely, applauded the Chinese and Liberians for the construction of the vessel, which he said is capable of transporting fuel and other goods to southeastern Liberia in 10 hours.
The Vice President’s Chief of Office Staff said the initiative supports the pro-poor agenda of President George M. Weah.
“This is a recognizable and motivational tool for employment to boost the economy,” Nimely said.
He made the statement on Saturday before the tour of the ship behind the headquarters of the National Fisheries Bureau at the Coast Guard base.
“You must be aware that as part of the government’s effort to boost the economy, President George Weah has given a 100% waiver for storage and demurrage on abandoned containers at the Freeport of Monrovia,” he added.
The ship or vessel is named Niko Ivanka. Niko is a Bassa word that translates to, “On top of the water,” and Ivanka is the name of the daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump. The vessel can carry at least 80,000 gallons of fuel (D2) and other goods, and weighs 400 tons.
The vessel is owned by Hylaec Incorporated, a Liberian company of Chinese origin. The vessel was constructed in Marshall, Margibi County in four months (September – December 2017), and is valued at US$1.5 million.
The vessel is licensed by the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) to service the ports of Robertsport, Buchanan, Greenville, Harper, and Monrovia.
“The vessel will begin weekly runs between Monrovia, Greenville, and Harper,” Ron Johnson said.
“Additionally, the Hylaec Inc. intends to expand its fleet of oceangoing vessels to include ten vessels that can service smaller ports along the Liberian coast as well as a 2,000-ton vessel that can move larger tonnage that includes sea containers to provide service to the larger ports in Liberia.
“There will also be a passenger taxi vessel or oceangoing passenger taxi vessel which will have at least 100 seats that will initially run between Monrovia to Greenville and Harper and return to Monrovia on a daily schedule. The passenger taxi vessels are projected to begin operations in the 3rd quarter of 2018.
“The company shares the vision of President Weah to provide opportunities to the population located in the countryside to quickly move goods at an affordable price to markets previously not conceived of in the past due to poor road condition in the country. For rural traders to interface with Monrovia and even international market utilizing the Niko Ivanka vessel is a positive step forward in providing new business opportunities.”
Charles Patrickson is the head of the Liberian team, while Ron Johnson and Alex Tou headed the Chinese team.