Mariner calls for enforcement of law on wreck abandonment

Capt. Saib Olopoenia

Capt. Saib Olopoenia, the President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has said that the non-implementation of the laws against wreck abandonment had left many wrecks in Nigerian waters.

Olopoenia, in an interview, said that the ongoing wreck removal project would take some years due to the high number of wrecks and the cost implication.
 “The reason why most of these wrecks remain there is that, normally when a ship grounds, is relative that either the owners are forced to remove them because of the provisions of the law.
``But over the years, because of the fact that we did not implement some of these provisions of the law, vessels have been abandoned for many years. They have become dangers to the navigation, dangers to the environment.
``When the government now decides to wake up to start cleaning them, there are so many of them that it will take years to actually remove them; and of course, is expensive too to remove the wrecks,” he said.
Olopoenia said that people could get some value from wrecks if removed on time, rather than allowing them to rot in the water for years. 
``If they were to be removed earlier, they can sell their steel plates for scrap but if a vessel has been in water for more than 10 years, a lot of wastage would have gone to the steel of the vessel.
``By the time you remove the wreck, it is little or nothing; you cannot recover much. Whereas, if it was recovered as soon as the vessel became a wreck, there would be some value in it,” Olopoenia said.


The master mariner, however, said that the urgency in removing a wreck was determined by the danger it constituted to navigation and to the environment.