Eleven survivors of a Liberian shipwreck arrived in the capital Monrovia on Monday, an AFP journalist saw, as rescue workers sought for as many as 17 people who were feared missing.
The cargo ship Niko Ivanka foundered off the coast of central Liberia on Saturday while on a trip from the capital to the port of Buchanan, 100 kilometres (60 miles) to the southeast.
The ship’s manifest showed 18 people were officially registered aboard, comprising nine crew members and nine members of a regional education body, according to investigators.
But information gathered from the 11 rescued from the sinking vessel indicate that up to 28 people may have been aboard, they said.
A handful of people awaited survivors outside Monrovia’s John F. Kennedy Hospital. One woman collapsed after failing to spot her loved one among the group.
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“Our priority is to still try to find those who are missing,” the head of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Eugene Lenn Nagbe, told reporters.
The vessel was not authorised to carry passengers and had also been placed “under detention orders” as it was unseaworthy, according to Nagbe.
He said a criminal investigation had been opened.
Liberia is a poor country that is still recovering after back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 2003 and the West African 2014-16 Ebola pandemic, which killed 4,800 people in the country.