West Africa: boat odyssey
UNHCR learned this morning that the ship with about 150 Liberians which has been stranded off West Africa for more than 10 days, left Benin's territorial waters last night around 18:00 local time, after being denied permission to dock. The boat was reportedly headed towards Nigeria. The ship had been waiting offshore for authorisation to disembark its passengers, mostly Liberians, who had already been refused entry into Ghana last week, after leaving Monrovia the week before. UNHCR on Monday obtained authorisation to visit in order to interview the passengers and assess their status and possible claims for asylum. However, by the time the authorisation came, the boat was already on its way out. UNHCR suspects that some of the passengers may be refugees and remains very concerned. It is important that a quick solution be found before the conditions on the boat deteriorate.