21 December 2012

Liberia: Communication Towers Pose Hazards - GOL

The Liberian Government has alarmed that existing communication towers here pose threats to the country [and airspace users'] collective security. Addressing a news conference at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications on Thursday, Minister Frederick B. Norkeh, revealed that sky-high tower without security light puts planes using "our airspace at risk."

Dr. Norkeh warned that if the situation were not urgently corrected, planes flying over Liberia at a lower altitude may crash into towers with a devastating impact. He said while it is possible that such incident could lead to the death of crew members, it is also possible that a plane could eventually crash over people or properties, resulting to additional collateral damages.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is also possible that there could be some chain reactions, resulting from the scenario illustrated, where companies that own the flight could sue our government on ground that, we neglected to prevent the incident as portrayed," said the Posts and communications Minister. He further warned that government risks paying millions of dollars in damages that could be used on social infrastructure such as schools or health facilities, among others.

Given the risk posed by such towers, Dr. Norkeh announced several measures to avoid tragedy and other similar mishaps such as government's position that communication towers that protrude into the sky must have security light to alert other users of the airspace.

He mandated the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) the public regulatory body here to ensure that security light on all towers meet LCAA's standards which provide that such light be conspicuous but not interfere with the security of planes in flight.

Dr. Norkeh said all microwave and related equipment used on communication towers should be situated in such a way not to cause hazard to human safety or environmental integrity, stressing that the LTA, Environmental Protection Agency and other stakeholders must collaborate in determining such standards.

"LTA should ensure the new towers should only be constructed in areas where existing ones are technically proven to be incapable of facilitating co-location," Dr. Norkeh concluded.

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