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Marine environmentalist indicts NN, NIMASA, NPA over rising wreaked ships

The Executive Director of Eco Restoration Foundation (ERF) and marine environmentalist, Prince David Omaghomi, has disclosed that the 86kms ocean coastline of Nigeria is littered with not less than 3,000 wreaked and abandoned ships.

Of this number, not up to 20 per cent are owned by Nigerian companies but foreign shippers who have relied on the complacency of federal agencies to see Nigerian territorial waters as dumping ground for wrecked ships.

According to him, “Many of these wrecked ships are abandoned because the owners discovered that it is convenient to sink ships from other parts of the world on Nigerian coastal waters to avoid bearing the cost at the illiteracy of relevant government agencies”.

While calling on the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and even the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to rise to their statutory duties in coming with an executive bill that will criminalise dumping of wrecked ships on the coastline, he argued that abandoned ships cause heavy discomfort for marine ecology and obstructs seaside or beach business.

He disclosed that “Nigeria has no legislation or enforcement of existing legislations that help people to remove ship wrecks. So people find Nigeria a favourable ground to dump their ships that are no longer in use.

“There are particular winds on the Atlantic Ocean also that push abandoned ships to the Bight of Benin which is the area on the Atlantic coast that Nigerian shorelines fall within,” he said.

Omaghomi stressed that “We have to save our coasts by implementation of policies, legislation and by providing the Nigerian Navy with enough coastal awareness to enforce Nigeria’s territorial integrity, even from environmental hazards like ship wrecks.

“Some people take insurance from insurance companies abroad, they dump the ships on the coasts of Nigeria because they are supposed to spend money on decommissioning the ship.

“When a ship has served its life time, you are supposed to take it to a dockyard and dismember it, recycle the metals, but they avoid such expenses, make money from insurance and they dump in the Nigeria where nobody cares,” said Omaghomi.

He further revealed that his group, ERF had single-handedly removed a wrecked ship causing obstruction at the Lekki Beach, Lagos, in 2016 as part of its efforts to save the environment.

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