No less than 17 people missing after the sinking of a cargo ship off the coast of Liberia
MONROVIA, July 19 (Reuters) – No less than 17 people have disappeared from a cargo ship that sank off the coast of Liberia over the weekend despite the ban on seagoing, the maritime commissioner said.
Niko Ivanka, registered in Liberia, left the capital Monrovia on Saturday for a port in the south of the West African country, although he was taken into custody for failing to comply with basic security requirements. Read more
The ship sent a distress signal this afternoon, informing the coast guard that it had taken on water. By the time the authorities arrived, it had already partially sunk.
Eighteen people were on the ship’s manifesto, 11 of whom were rescued in a 36-hour search, Commissioner Eugene Nagbe told reporters on Monday.
But those rescued said there were actually around 28 people on board, leaving 17 missing.
“Right now our concern is a search and rescue mission,” Nagbe said. “My goal is the lives of these missing people.”
The precise number of passengers remained unknown, Deputy Information Minister Jarlaywah Tonpoe told Reuters.
“The ship was not an authorized passenger vessel and yet it had passengers on board,” said Tonpoe. “So in the next few days the investigation will establish how many people were on board.”
It was not clear how or why the vessel was able to leave port or if it was carrying cargo at the time. The ship’s owner, a Chinese national, was arrested on Sunday afternoon, Nagbe said.
Among those listed on the manifesto were a Swedish captain, a Chinese crew member and nine members of the regional school review body in West Africa.
Reporting by Alphonso Toweh Writing by Edward McAllister Editing by Nick Macfie
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