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Gov’t Blamed For
Wrecked Vessel Saga
…Urged To Shoulder Full Responsibilities

A comprehensive investigation conducted by the Liberian Senate’s Joint Committee on Maritime, Defense, Intelligence Security, and Veteran Affairs blamed officials of the Executive Branch of government to take full responsibilities for all victims (families) and properties that got destroyed.
“Plenary of the Senate must also draft a resolution to spell out the responsibilities be undertaken by the Executive,” a motion approved by the senate plenary averred.
The Committee’s recommendation that was endorsed by plenary states that considering the totality of all that transpired in handling the Ivanka situation ranging from the uncoordinated approach, the handling of the issue before the vessel was allowed to leave the Port, the conflict of interest identified; the lack of coordination that eventually led to an unfortunate situation that could have been avoided; the unclear nature of the communication from LMA regarding the condition of the vessel; the Senate Joint Committee thereby blamed the National Port Authority, the Maritime Authority and the Shipping Agency and urged the agencies to take collective responsibility for negligence and dereliction of responsibilities.
It can be recalled that on July 17, 2021, the Liberian registered vessel Niko Ivanka sank after leaving the Freeport of Monrovia, destined for the Port of Harper, Maryland County.
The incident left a dozen of persons dead with two persons still unaccounted for, while value on properties lost in the sea disaster is yet unknown.
The Committee report recorded that the Liberian Maritime Authority was represented by its Deputy for administration Cllr. Charles Gono and the legal section of the authority.

The team informed the Senate Joint Committee that following its annual assessment, the authority realized that NIKO IVANKAR was not sea worthy, coupled with the fact that the vessel was delinquent to its tax obligation to the government of Liberia.
Being the premier regulatory agency of government on all maritime issues, it then communicated with the National Port Authority and the Ministry of National defense (Communication was received by Captain Stephen Kamara) through the Coast Guard Division.
report says, Niko IVANKAR was indebted to the government of Liberia in its tax obligation; that the vessel should be prevented from sailing pending the settlement of its tax arrears; the National Port Authority was represented by Bill Twehway at every stage of the hearing.
He presented the port’s account and acknowledged that the communication from maritime was received by a staff in his office named Caroline.
Interestingly, as it relates to the staff in the MD office, the returned copy of the communication served the MD for his second appearance before the joint committee showed that Caroline, the lady who is said to have received the communication, never delivered to her boss signed that letter. In the presentation, the MD had said the lady was under suspension following investigation of the receipt of the communication from maritime.

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