United States Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, Wednesday 6 April paid a courtesy call on President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House in Freetown. He was accompanied by the US Ambassador to Sierra Leone John Hoover and other embassy staff.
Mr Ray Mabus is the 75th Secretary of the Navy of the United States and has occupied the position since 2009.
Welcoming the delegation, President Koroma used the opportunity to thank the United States for their contribution in the fight against the unprecedented Ebola outbreak and informed Mr Mabus and team about the challenges Sierra Leone is facing in the maritime security sector. He disclosed that Sierra Leone is losing 30 - 40 million United States dollars in fisheries sector every year and therefore welcomed any proposals to look at areas to improve on the maritime security sector.
The president said even though America has been helping Sierra Leone's maritime sector and currently the country has put structures in place, yet certain systems, he said, have not been functioning well in the sector. He called on Mr Mabus to pay attention on provision of more radars and boats with enough capacities to be able to secure the country's territorial waters and hence curb illegal activities along the coast line.
In his response, Ray Mabus promised to work with the government of Sierra Leone to set up what he referred to as a National American Strategy as they did in Gabon to stamp out illegal fishing and other activities in the country; and also help to upgrade the navy with required facilities to build up its capacity.
The discussion climaxed with presentation of a sword to President Koroma by the Secretary of US navy and team.