The Nigerian Navy (NN) on Tuesday raised alarm over wrecked and abandoned ships, boats obstructing navigation around the Lagos channels of the country’s waterways.
Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command (WNC) Rear Admiral Oladele Daji who took reporters for on-the-spot analysis of the threats, said the navy was forced to cry out having written several times to the agencies charged with clearing the channels without result.
He said the areas most affected were the Tincan Island, Kirikiri, Navy Town and Badagry creek areas of the channel.
According to the Admiral, the navy had identified about 35 of such wrecks which were submerged along the very busy Lagos channel constituting grave danger to ships and crew.
“The hazards associated with these wrecks is that most often especially during high water, they are submerged and hardly visible to mariners and therefore they pose the greatest threats during this period.
“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. In addition, there are several navigational aids like the boyle, markings, light that are not functional or missing or have shifted from their original positions.
“The absence of these navigational aids also constitute risk to shipping, especially at night or during restricted visibilities.
“Recall that just a few months ago, one of our vessels, Nigerian Navy Ship(NNS) Calabar while moving for patrols was involved in mishap. It struck a submerged wreck, just in the middle of the channel.
“You will all agree with me that this could be avoided if those wrecks were promptly removed when they were identified. We have written to the authorities concern and we are hoping that actions would be taken to clear our channels of those wreckages so that ships can easily move in and out of harbour to respond to emergencies.
“It would as well save us the money, resources that would be put into making that affected vessel operational which would have been deployed into better and more productive endeavours.
“Other vessels apart from NNS Calabar have also suffered similar thing in the past,” he said.