Liberia Maritime Authority to prosecute bulker crew for alleged killing, dumping of stowaways

The Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier Bulk Beothuk, later renamed Ophelia, in 2019 (Photo: Kamenev)

The Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) said it is exerting all efforts in making sure that the captain and crewmembers of a Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel that allegedly threw more than a dozen people overboard are apprehended and prosecuted in accordance with Liberian and international laws.

The incident on the bulk carrier Ophelia is said to have involved about 14 stowaways claiming to be Nigerians who were found hidden on the ship.

The individuals reportedly boarded the vessel illegally while it was berthed at Warri, Nigeria, on September 7. The crew found all 14 of them three days later as the vessel was underway off Liberia.

Two of the stowaways are reported to have died following their discovery by Ophelia‘s crew.

The remaining 12 individuals were later picked up out of the water by the crews of some Liberian fishing boats.

Maritime Commissioner Lenn Eugene Nagbe said that LiMA has initiated a full investigation of the incident to ensure everyone involved is made to account.

Mr Nagbe said other agencies of the Government of Liberia, including the Liberia Immigration Service, are also currently conducting a full-scale investigation.

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