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Navy urges relevant authorities to remove wrecks threatening safe navigation on Nigerian Waters

The Nigerian Navy has called for urgent removal
of wrecks that are posing dangers to safe navigation of ships on the nation’s
waters.

The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western
Naval Command, Rear Adm. Oladele Daji, made the called at a news conference at
the Base in Apapa, Lagos, earlier in the week.


The FOC identified Tin Can Island,
Kirikiri, Navy Town and bad portion of the Badagry Creek as the most-affected
areas in terms of the wrecks.

He said that about 35 of such
maritime wrecks had been identified, which were submerged along the very busy
Lagos channel that provide a vital access into the Tin Can Island port.



He also called attention to the need to fix aids to navigation, which may have moved from their positions or had become non-functional, thus exposing ships to dangers. 

He said: “In addition, there are several
navigational aid like the oils, markings, and light houses that are not
functional or missing or have shifted from their intended original positions.

“The absence of these navigational aids
also constitute risks to shipping, especially at night or during restricted
visibility.

He disclosed that the Nigerian Navy Hydrography
Office, in line with its statutory responsibilities as identified, had
resurveyed the wrecks and had shared the surveys to relevant agencies of
government.

He said: “The surveys had been shared to
the agencies and departments responsible for removal of the wrecks on our
waterways.

“It will, therefore, be necessary for such
authorities to take urgent action and remove these wrecks on our waterways so
that shipping, especially the safety of ships and seafarers will further be
guaranteed.

“Additionally, the replacement and
servicing bad navigational aids will equally assist the safety of navigation.

“It will enhance the ability of responding
agencies to quickly move and respond to emergencies in case of distress at
sea.” 

Speaking on the dangers of wrecks to safe
navigation of ships as well as pollution to the environment, Daji said: “The
hazard associated with these wrecks is that most often, especially during high
water, they are submerged and hardly visible to mariners and therefore, pose
greatest threats during this period of time.

“Apart from endangering shipping, most of
the wrecks also constitute environmental pollution and hazards.

“I do not think it portrays us as a country
with laws and regulations in good light, especially to the global shipping
community.”

The FOC recalled how the Nigerian Navy Ship
Calabar struck a submerged wreck in the middle of the channel a few months ago,
while moving harbours for patrols, an avoidable incident if the wrecks had been
removed.

He said: “You will all agree with me that
this can be avoided if those wrecks are promptly removed when they were identified.

“It would as well save us the money and
resources that will be put into making that vessel operational which would have
been deployed into better and more productive endeavors.

“Other vessels, apart from NNS Calabar,
have also suffered similar fate in the past.

He further noted that the threats posed by
the wrecks on the nation’s waterways could make responses to distress calls
from vessels more difficult for agencies saddled with that responsibility,
particularly at night and in poor or restricted visibility.

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