Over 15 people missing after ship sinks in Liberia

MONROVIA (AFP) - Between 15 and 17 people are missing after a vessel sank off the coast of southeastern Liberia, the West African state's government and coastguard said on Sunday (July 18).

Search and rescue operations are ongoing, a coastguard official said at a news conference in the capital Monrovia.

He added that some people had been rescued on Saturday night as the ship was sinking.

The head of Liberia's Maritime Authority Eugene Lenn Nagbe told reporters that the vessel in question had earlier been placed "under detention orders" because it was unseaworthy.

Details about the sinking remain sketchy, however.

Liberian daily FrontPage Africa reported on Saturday night that 21 people were aboard the vessel and a rescue operation began after it sent out a distress call.

AFP was unable to independently verify the details.

Liberia is a poor nation of 4.8 million people 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.

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