Features Almost 300 Liberian
Refugees Arrive Home on Chartered Vessel
Feature: Almost 300 Liberian Refugees Arrive Home on Chartered ex
Official Press Releases From Various Sources...
Almost 300 Liberian refugees arrive home on chartered vessel
UNHCR Press Release:
MONROVIA, Liberia, July 31 (UNHCR) – A group of 298 Liberian refugees
arrived home on Monday morning aboard a chartered passenger-cargo vessel.
The Gambia-registered Brenda Corlett docked in Monrovia after settling sail
from the Ghanaian port of Tema last Thursday.
Liberian Vice-President Joseph Boakai and Minister of Internal Affairs
Ambulai Johnson attended a colourful welcoming ceremony. The returnees went
through medical screening and proceeded to a transit centre to receive their
These include food rations for four months, blankets, sleeping mats, cooking
utensils, sanitary towels for women, buckets, lanterns, mosquito nets,
plastic sheets, soap, jerry cans and agricultural tools. They will also be
given opportunities for skills training.
It was the first such return by sea since UNHCR began in February to
actively promote voluntary repatriation of Liberian refugees, but there have
been three other repatriations by ship from Ghana since UNHCR launched its
voluntary repatriation programme in October 2004.
The arrival of the 298 Liberians brings the number of people repatriated
with UNHCR assistance from Ghana to some 3,800. Others, mainly those with
special needs, have gone home by air.
UNHCR has helped some 73,000 Liberian refugees return home from around the
region since 2004. The repatriation programme will continue until June 2007.
The next planned movement from Ghana will be an air charter for refugees
with special needs next week, to be followed by another sea movement the
Ghana hosts some 38,000 Liberian refugees, who form the majority of the
approximately 54,000 refugees in the country.
By Needa Jehu-Hoyah
In Monrovia, Liberia
Liberian refugees on the Brenda Corlett,
which docked in Monrovia on Monday morning.
Top officials attended a colourful
welcoming ceremony for the 298 returnees.
Ex-Bute ferry's still a Pioneer
Source: The Buteman
IT’S all a long way from ferrying daily commuters across the Clyde to Wemyss
Bay on a cold, wet January morning. But Caledonian MacBrayne’s former
Rothesay ferry, MV Pioneer, has earned new fame for herself after playing an
important part in returning refugees to their homeland off the war-torn west
African coast. The ship, now owned by Corlett Lines and named Brenda
Corlett, recently took almost three hundred Liberian refugees - and their
belongings - home from the Ghanaian port of Tema, many returning after more
than a decade in exile. The far-travelled ferry was chartered to lend
assistance to a repatriation effort organised by the United Nations High
Commission on Refugees (UNHCR). Liberia is still adjusting to democracy
after years of devastating civil war, and the UNHCR has already helped some
73,000 of the country’s refugees return home since 2004. Returning refugees
have previously been taken home by air, but the charter of the Brenda
Corlett meant those travelling back from Ghana could take with them
belongings and possessions gathered during their years in exile. “I really
feel happy to be going home. I have not seen my parents for 14 years and
finally I will see them,” said 28-year-old John Washington, who had worked
at a hotel while in Ghana. The Pioneer’s last CalMac sailings were in
November 2003, and she was sold the following summer, in somewhat
controversial circumstances. However, it wasn’t until Christmas Eve of the
following year that she finally left the Clyde for service between Sao Tome
and Principe and later in The Gambia. The ferry was built in Leith in 1974
and served on almost all of CalMac’s Clyde and Western Isles routes during
her 29 years in Scotland, earning her a loyal following among enthusiasts of
the Scottish shipping scene - though her window-rattling thrusters were not
universally popular among householders and businesses along Rothesay’s
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