11 December 2012

Liberia: Maritime, Family Compromised Cadets Death

Authorities at the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) and family members of the four cadets whose deaths were surrounded by intense controversies have reached a compromised deal for monetary compensation to the family in the tune of a total of US600,000, this paper has learnt.

Family members of the late cadets; J. Eddie Wilson, George K. Reed, Patrick M. Ansumana and Henry D. Bryant had earlier filed a writ against the Maritime Authority seeking that the latter takes responsibility for their deceased love ones.

The cadets, the family claimed died while undergoing training session within the Atlantic Ocean and therefore the LMA was responsible for their deaths.

But the LMA had repeatedly denied the family claims saying, the cadets were not in their custody at the time of their deaths.

The deal to reach a compromise between family members of the late cadets through their legal team headed by Cllr. Negbalee Warner and Maritime was brokered last Friday by a mutual friend of both the family and Maritime, a source told this paper.

As per the compromised deal, each family member will received the total sum of US150,000 in compensation. The money is expected to be paid in three installments by LMA officials.

The first payment of US$50,000 will be given before the celebrations of this Christmas Holiday, while the second installment will be done on March 15 of next year and the balance US$50,000 will be cleared in the next fiscal year, which commence on July 1, 2013. This means that family members of the cadets will walk away with a total of US$600,000 from the coffer of the Liberia Maritime Authority.

Earlier, the four cadets families have planned to sue the Liberia Maritime Authority for the death of their relatives in tune of US$3 million, but the LMA reportedly used a 'mutual friend' closed to the relatives to engage in out of court settlement something which is now proven to be a more successful deal for the both parties.

When contacted, Cllr. Warner declined to comment. "I am not prepare to speak to the press on the issue", he said.

Also, when the Public Affairs Officer of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Mr. Mulbah Yorkpor was contacted, he promised to response to the information but upon the arrival of the New Dawn at the main entrance of the Maritime head office in Sinkor, the reporter was denied entry. When this writer tried to reach him via his mobile phone, Mr. Yorkpor's phone rang endlessly without a pick.

It can be recalled; on September 27, 2012 four promising cadets undergoing preparation for training overseas were victims of an apparent drowning incident at a local beach in Paynesville, off the Monrovia-Robertsfield Highway.

The four cadets were among 13 others recruited by the Liberian Maritime Authority to undergo search and rescue mission training abroad. They were in their preparatory stages which include rigorous physical exercises and academic lessons when the incident occurred.

Authorities at the Maritime said the incident occurred after the cadets had ended their day's training but 11 of them decided to privately go swimming on the beach at which time four of them got drowned. Authorities at the Maritime had also claimed that the preparatory training of the cadets did not include swimming at the beach.

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