Liberia: Niko Ivanka Victims to Wait another Budget Year Before Getting Due Compensations

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MONROVIA — Finance Minister Samuel Tweah has said victims of the Nicko IVANKA shipwreck will have to wait until 2023 to be compensated because “the government has a tight space.” 

Minister Tweah made the disclosure Monday when faced the Senate on during a public hearing.

He was responding to an inquiry from Maryland County Senator Gble-Gbo Brown who had wished the government compensated victims of the shipwreck.

Senator Brown, however, said the finance ministry couldn’t be solely blamed for the delay as victims especially those who lost their goods in the ocean had delayed in submitting a list of missing items.

“It will take a lot of negotiation and lobbying. There are two categories, the dead, and those who lost their goods in the ocean,” Sen. Brown Stated.

The Liberian Senate after a long period of investigating the July 17, 2021 incident, meanwhile, agreed that the Liberia Maritime Authority and the National Port Authority will contribute the amount of US$20,000.00 to the family of each person who lost his/her life by drowning with the vessel.

This amount, the Senate said, is in addition to the US$100,000 initially contributed to the families of those who lost their lives.

The Senate says its decision will be forwarded with an attached communication to President George M. Weah on the disaster that occurred.

The Plenary of the Liberian Senate also determined that based on the investigation by its relevant Committees, the dereliction of duties and responsibilities and the negligence of the Liberia Maritime Authority and the National Port Authority contributed immensely to the sinking of the M/V Niko Ivankar.

It can be recalled that the Plenary of the Liberian Senate mandated the Joint Committee on Maritime as well as Defense, Intelligence, Security and Veteran Affairs to investigate the incident.

Additionally, the Joint Committee established that the Maritime Authority and the National Port Authority are the direct lines of focus in the search for answers as to what went wrong before and after the sinking of the Niko Ivankar Vessel.

Furthermore, the investigation revealed that the National Port Authority, one of whose statutory mandate is to manage the Free Port of Monrovia and all Sea Ports of the Republic of Liberia, was derelict and negligent in the performance of its duties and responsibilities by allowing the M/V Niko Ivankar to routinely sail with passengers even though it is licensed as only a cargo-carrying vessel, and by allowing the aforesaid M/V Niko Ivankar to sail notwithstanding its unfitness to sail.

It can be recalled that on July 17, 2021, the Liberian owned registered vessel, Niko Ivankar, sank after leaving the Free Port of Monrovia, destined for the Port of Harper, Maryland County. 

The incident left a dozen persons dead with two persons still unaccounted for, while the value of properties lost in the sea disaster is yet unknown.

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