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.