Liberia: Police Charge Five Niko Ivanka Crew Members for Criminally Sailing the Faulty Vessel

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MONROVIA – Police in Monrovia have charged and forwarded to court five crew members of the Niko Ivanka vessel, following its wreckage on July 17.

The crew members are Zhong Qxiang, Captain, George McCay, Pier Superintendent, Wesley Monroe, NPA Security Department, Alex Tue, Vessel Owner and Azaan Dahi, Mechanical Engineering.

The crew members, according to our Judicial reporter, were charged for multiple offenses ranging from negligent homicide, recklessly endangering people, criminal facilitation to criminal conspiracy.

Police charge sheet in the possession of FrontPageAfrica claimed that the Chinese national and owner of the Niko Ivanka vessel endangered the lives of the passengers on board by overloading it.

At the same time, police charged sheet said while then lives of passengers were endangered, George McCay, Pier Superintendent of NPA failed to advise the vessel owner not to sail.

Accordingly, McCay onward allowed passengers on board knowing the guideline of the vessel and the detention order of the vessel from the Liberia Maritime Authority.

The police document further revealed that the five crew members’ legal team secured a valid criminal appearance bond, thereby preventing their incarceration at the Monrovia Central Prison pending court trial.

The police criminal charges come a day after the government through Ministry of Justice dismissed its criminal action against the crew members of the NIKO IVANKA for the charges to allow the police investigation.

In July of this year, the vessel in question developed problems at sea and sunk in Marshall, causing the death of eight Liberians most of whom were employees of the West African Examination Council.

Over 16 persons died and 11 others were rescued.

Among those rescued were 10 men, one woman. Nine of them including seven crewmen are Liberians, one Chinese, and one Syrian. Six were rescued on Saturday, July 17, while the remaining was rescued on Sunday, July 18.

The vessel which, belongs to HYLALEA INC. was constructed in Marshall, Margibi County in the period of four months and commissioned by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor in 2018.

It was carrying about 21 passengers, including nine workers of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) when it was reported distressed.

It can be recalled that under the administration of former LiMA boss, Dr. James Kollie, the NIKO IVANKA, which was licensed to transport only cargo or goods, to the leeward areas in Liberia was declared unfit for sea.

It was grounded and prevented from sailing on the Liberian waters due to its deplorable conditions.

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