-Six ex-WAEC staff included

Authorities have announced that they have recovered the lifeless bodies of at least eight persons onboard the sunken M/V NIKO IVANKA, at the time it crashed in Liberian waters.

OnSunday, 18 July 2021, Liberians woke up to the shockingly saddening and terrifying news that the M/V NIKO IVANKA, a locally registered cargo ship loaded with unspecified tons of cargo and approximately 26 to 28 passengers, had sunk in a place between Little Bassa and Marshall City, few kilometers away from the capital, Monrovia.

Few days after the fatal crash of the cargo vessel, followed by the launch of a search and rescue operation, authorities announced that a total of 12 passengers onboard the crashed vessel at the time it sank, had been rescued, while several others were presumed missing.

Rescue workers disclosed later that their earlier search and rescue operation had transitioned to a mission of recovery, with officials now announcing that discovery have been made of corpses of at least eight individuals onboard the wrecked vessel before it capsized.

The M/V NIKO IVANKA, prior to its departure from the Free Port of Monrovia, on 17 July, headed for Harper, Maryland County, was under a current detention order and was not allowed to sail, according to Maritime Commissioner Eugene Nagbe.

Nagbe disclosed that at no period throughout its existence, the M/V NIKO IVANKA was allowed or permitted or licensed to operate as a passenger carrier.

Nagbe told reporters that the M/V NIKO IVANKA, on Saturday, 17 July, “criminally” sailed off Liberia’s main seaport, the Free Port of Monrovia, and while underway to Harper, about 6 nautical miles off the coast of Marshall City, the cargo vessel reportedly started to take in water.

Howbeit, the Incident Management Center (IMC) comprising the Liberia Maritime Authority, National Port Authority, Liberia Coast Guard, Liberia Immigration Service, Liberia National Police and other relevant stakeholders, on Wednesday released details of deceased passengers, including six former staff of the West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC’s) Monrovia office, onboard the M/V NIKO IVANKA at the time of its crash.

The IMC announced that the lifeless body of a male, and former staff of WAEC, Massay Kollie, was discovered July 22, on Kru Town Beach, in Robertsport City, Grand Cape Mount County; while the corpses of two other former staffers of WAEC, Akaseh Dolo, a male and Johnson Wuelleh, another male, were discovered 22 July and 24 July, on Government Farm Beach, Marshall, Margibi County, and Mande Beach, Sehbehhen Town, Grand Cape Mount County respectively.

The corpses of J. Okama T. Wleh, a male and ex-staff of the Tubman University located in Maryland County, and Abraham T Joe, a male police officer formerly assigned with WAEC, were discovered 22 July, at Cassava Beach, Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, and on 23 July, at Ben Town Beach, Marshall, Margibi County, respectively.

The IMC says the corpse of a male identified as Alex Kolo, whose name was not on the official manifest of the cargo vessel, was discovered 24 July, behind Gbesseh Town, in Grand Cape Mount County; while the lifeless bodies of two other former male staff of WAEC, Morris B. Kelleh and Stephen M. Kollie, were both discovered 25 July, on the ELWA Beach, Paynesville City, Montserrado County, and Silver Beach, Duazon, Margibi County, respectively.

Meanwhile, a total of 12 survivors from the cargo vessel crash have been rescued, with the IMC releasing their identities on Wednesday.

Those rescued so far are nine Liberians, two Chinese and a Swedish national.

The shipwreck survivors include a Liberian female private passenger, Jamama Kama, whose name was not recorded on the crashed vessel’s official manifest.

A male staff of WAEC, Raymond C. Yeon, is among the survivors; while another male private passenger, Joe F. Dennis, Jr., a Liberian, whose name does not reflect on the official manifest of the M/V NIKO IVANKA prior to sinking, is also among the survivors; and Lawrence Koffa, a male Liberian private passenger, with his name omitted from the vessel’s official manifest, being one of the survivors, as well.

Other survivors are: a Liberian male sailor, Jerry N. Gruyee, who was listed on the vessel’s manifest as a member of the crew of the M/V NIKO IVANKA; and two other males, who are Liberian crew members of the crashed vessel, Sensee Kawah and Lawrence Kollie.

The rest of the survivors are the Captain of the crashed M/V NIKO IVANKA, a Swedish national identified as Azaam Daii, alias Captain Jack; a male Liberian sailor and crew member, Peter Flomo; a male Chinese, Chen Feng Gui, who was a private passenger, whose name was not registered on the cargo vessel’s official manifest; and another male Chinese, Chn Zhong Qixiang, who was serving as 2nd Officer and a member of the crew of M/V NIKO IVANKA when it capsized.

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