Liberia: Niko Ivanka Vessel Owner Sent to Court

14 September 2021

The Liberia National Police (LNP) has sent to court the owner of the MV Niko Ivanka vessel, Alex Tuo, and others for alleged negligence homicide, recklessly endangering another person, criminal conspiracy, and criminal facilitation, after the vessel en route to Maryland County, southeast Liberia sank and killed several occupants in April this year.

The Niko Ivanka, a Chinese - owned vessel, departed the Freeport of Monrovia on Saturday, 17 April for the Port of Harper, Maryland County when it subsequently sank.

According to police, they arrested the vessel owner defendant Tuo on 30 August 2021, investigated and charged him.

The police charge sheet says the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) revealed that the vessel unauthorizedly left the Freeport of Monrovia with about 27 occupants including nine members from its crew, eight staff of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), a police officer, and other passengers.

Defendant Tuo, according to the police charge sheet, narrated that his vessel was built and registered by LiMA in 2018 and had been operating as of the said date.

He allegedly informed police investigation that the WAEC Liberia office requested him to carry its examiners to Maryland with the aid of the Managing Director of the National Port Authority's instruction of the director of the Seaport Police to allow the WAEC staff board his vessel.

The police investigation revealed that the owner of the vessel refused to inform the WAEC office that the vessel was only registered for cargo carrying and not passengers.

The charge sheet details that investigators established that the filing clerk in the office of the managing director, National Port Authority received the detention notice from Liberia Maritime, and claimed that she delivered it to her immediate boss Roland Sunnyway who refused to have knowledge of the documents.

Additionally, police said defendant Tou, a Chinese national and owner of the vessel endangered the lives of the passengers onboard the vessel, knowing the vessel was meant to only carry cargoes and not passengers.

The investigation revealed that the vessel was loaded with 125 tons of rice; 97 tons of fuel, mix goods containing WAEC materials for Greenville, and oxygen Tank for Ruby Lightweight, 10 tons and nine WAEC staff along with nine crew members whose names were reflected on the vessel official manifest.

The police charged the vessel owner along with George Mccay, Azaan Dahi, Zhong Qixiang, and Wesley G. Monroe for accompanying the reckless act that destroyed several lives and properties and forwarded them to court.

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