President Sirleaf Extends Condolences to Families of Shipwreck Victims; Names Committee to Investigate Incident

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
June 14, 2010


The following statement was issued by Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, on Saturday, June 5, 2010:

I have learned with profound sorrow of the capsizing of a ship, the MV Hevea, off the coast of Harper, on the night of Monday, May 31st, in which eight Liberians are still missing.

This tragedy is a great loss not only to the victims’ families, but also to the Government and people of Liberia. On all our behalf, I extend sincere condolences to the people of Maryland County, and especially to the families of the victims, for the untimely loss of their loved ones. May God grant them solace in their hour of bereavement.

At the same time, we must give thanks to God that 24 of the 32 passengers on board the ship survived and were miraculously rescued. They were saved by fishermen from the village of Soublaké, along the Ivorian coast. Our sincere thanks to the Government and people of that sister nation, Côte d’Ivoire, for the life-saving assistance they rendered in rescuing the survivors from the ocean.

The survivors were transported, by land, to the J.J. Dossen Hospital in Harper and are receiving treatment. Their transportation was facilitated by several NGOs – Merlin, the Danish Refugee Council, and Merci – as well as by UNHCR and UNPOL. We thank all of these partners for their support.

I want the people of Maryland to know that I have today constituted a committee, headed by the Minister of Justice, to look into this latest accident, as well as the three other shipwrecks that have occurred off the Maryland coast in recent times.

I know that bad roads in the region force people to take to ships to get from place to place. Hence, the Ministry of Public Works has been instructed to work on the Fish Town to Pleebo road until the dry season when full repair will start with African Development Bank (ADB) funding. Repair of the nation’s road network remains a top Government priority.

The committee is comprised as follows:

Chairman: Minister of Justice

-- Minister of Internal Affairs;
-- Minister of State without Portfolio;
-- Ministry of Finance;
-- Catholic Justice and Peace; and the
-- Chamber of Commerce

This Committee has been requested to submit its findings to me by the end of the month. The findings of the report will enable Government to determine the level of support that can be given to the victims

In the meantime, I have already made a personal contribution and we are mobilizing immediate relief items to be dispatched to Harper within the next few days.

Source: Government of Liberia

© 2010 by The Perspective

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