Monrovia — APM Terminals, the company operating the multi-purpose Free Port of Monrovia, has issued a new regulation on the size of ships that would be allowed to berth at the Free Port, Liberia's biggest harbor.
The new restriction which was directed to all shipping lines and agencies is due to the growing siltation situation in the port entrance channel and to ensure safety of navigation within the port channel.
"APMT is forced to take a few urgent steps with immediate effect as regards to our capacity to safely provide Marine services to our dear customers," it stated in the directive.
The directive further stated:
APM Terminal will only be able to needy berth and unberth vessels with a maximum draft of 10 meters. Vessels above 10 meters draft will not be able to berth/ball.
All vessels with a draft between 9.S and 10 meters will have to strictly berth/nil at high tide.
All vessels with a draft below 9.5 meters will be able to berth at any time provided that they have a beam smaller than 28 meters.
All vessels with a beam larger than 28 meters will have to berth at high tide irrespective of their draft."
According to APM Terminals, while it understands the operational implications of the restrictions, its decision is geared towards preventing a disaster that could have higher negative commercial and operational impacts for all stakeholders.
FrontPageAfrica gathered that the current shortage of gasoline in the country is due to the inability for large tankers to berth at the port. This was confirmed on Tuesday to this newspaper by the Minister of Commerce and Industry when he said, "We have some ships coming in, 10.3 meters, they need more than that, 14 meters, 16 meters they need but we don't have it so it's shallow and because of that the larger ships are not able to come."
He, however, stated that the National Port Authority has been working on plans to have the port dredged in the coming months.