As many as 17 people were missing from a cargo ship that sank off the coast of Liberia over the weekend despite being barred from setting sail, Reuters reports citing the country’s Maritime Commissioner.
The Liberian-registered Niko Ivanka was sailing from Monrovia on Saturday for a port in the West African country’s south, despite an order barring it from operating for failure to meet safety standards.
The ship sent out a distress call to the coastguard, but by the time they arrived, it has already sunk.
According to the Reuters report, the ship’s manifest only had 18 people, but after 11 were rescued, they revealed that there were in fact 28 people on board.
But those rescued said that there were in fact about 28 people on board, leaving 17 missing.
“For now, our concern is a search and rescue mission,” commissioner Eugene Nagbe said. “My focus is the lives of those people missing.”
Deputy Information Minister Jarlaywah Tonpoe on his part told Reuters the vessel was not authorized to carry passengers.
He added that an investigation will be launched to establish how many people were on board.