Senator Brown is advocating on behalf of the survivors, families of victims and business people, whose property including goods, vanished in thin air into the bottom of the ocean. Though such benefits cannot bring back the lives uncounted for nor cover the total value of goods and services lost to the ocean, he believes they are necessary. The Senator’s quest was noticed in his line of questioning during the Liberian Senate’s Tuesday, August 17, 2021 sitting. He quizzed the preliminary report of the joint Senate committee investigating circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Niko Ivanka vessel.
The Maryland County lawmaker’s concern as to whether the wrecked Niko Ivanka ship was insured wasn’t answered in the preliminary reports, prompting his plea for the joint committee to consider providing such vital information. “My input concerning the preliminary report was that they (the joint committee) need to go back because there are two issues,” said Senator Brown in an interview with our reporter following the day’s session. “First, is the issue of whether the boat was insured. We have lost lives! What happens to the families; what can we tell them?
“The second issue is that lot of business people put their life-saving; they came to buy goods and all of those goods went down into the ocean. What happens…?” FrontpageAfrica quotes sources as saying, Niko Ivanka is a Liberian-built and registered ship for the transportation of cargo between Harper, Maryland County and the Freeport of Monrovia. Despite being banned from sailing for not meeting basic safety requirements, the ship reportedly departed the port of Monrovia on July 17, 2021 at 6PM. Reports further reveal that it lost signal offshore between Marshall and Little Bassa, following which news of the vessel sinking emerged.
More than eleven persons have since been rescued as the search and the official investigation commissioned by the government of Liberia are still ongoing. The Liberian Senate’s Joint Committee, comprising the committees on Maritime, Defense, Security and Veteran Affairs, commissioned about two weeks ago has been investigating the situation surrounding the tragedy. Another concern raised by Senator Brown was the committee’s preliminary report’s inability to provide the exact number of persons on board the vessel, putting the figure at between 24 and 28.
Though the situation is a national tragedy, Maryland County has been hard hit again, a the vessel was headed to Maryland County to deliver goods and services. This is not the second or third shipwrecks that have experienced by Marylanders, but around forth or so. “It is disheartened that in this age, people are still losing lives because of shipwreck,” said Superintendent Brown, recalling similar situation under his watch as Maryland County Superintendent in 2010, which was hoped to have been the last of such incidents. “But it came back after 10 years,” lamented the Maryland lawmaker as he went on to sympathize with the families of the victims as well the business people affected by the situation.
Quite recently, the Maryland County Legislative Caucus comprising five lawmakers reached out and identified with at least four survivors of the Niko Ivanka shipwreck. The four survivors were among some residents of Maryland County who were taking advantage of traveling by sea owing to the terribly deplorable condition of the road leading to the southeastern county.