By Godfrey Bivbere & Godwin Oritse
Heavy storm over the weekend forced 16 unseaworthy vessels anchored at the Lagos break waters for the beach side, posing great danger to those using the beach and the eco-system, even as the President of the Nigerian FishingÂ Trawlers Association (NITOA) Mrs Margaret Orakwusi has raised alarm over increasing wave of sea robbers attack on fishing trawler.
Disclosing this in Lagos yesterday, Director General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Temisan Omatseye, said the storm resulted into a strong line stroll and subsequent rough sea and strong winds which forced the ships to drift from the Lagos anchorage into light house beach spread over five nautical miles.
The NIMASA boss that while ten of the ships were forced to the beach side, the other six were moved by the storm to the Lekki area of Lagos.
He noted that the serious nature of the incident made him call the Minister of Transport, Ahlaji Ibrahim Bio who directed him (Temisan) to commence the process of removal of the ships.
He gave the name of some of the vessels as Hollgan Star, a coastal tanker, Arcturus No. 3, an LPG tanker, Sunshine also an LPG tanker, Morlap Trader belonging to the chairman of the Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief Isaac Jolapamo and one unidentified tanker.
The others according to him are Penil, a coastal tanker whose hull is heavily covered with marine growth, Odyssey (ex Whitkirk), a coastal tanker, F.K Badmus also a coastal vessel which was found flat on keel with its bow facing the beach, Ella L, a coastal vessel found sitting on top of another older wreck which had been in the same position earlier and an unidentified coastal tanker.
He explained that they have concluded arrangement to move in heavy equipment from Port Harcourt to clear the wrecks from the beach side in four weeks.
He also pointed out that the committee on wreck removal would soon embark on assessment of all the ships at anchorage along the Lagos break waters and identify those that could be classified wrecks, with a view of moving them out of the area to prevent future occurrence.
Meanwhile, the amnesty programme of the Federal Government may have failed as the fishing trawlingÂ sub-sector of the Nigerian economy has experienced an up surge inÂ attacks of fishingÂ vessels.
Speaking to Vanguard in Lagos yesterday, the President OF THE Nigerian FishingÂ Trawlers Association (NITOA) Mrs Margaret Orakwusi said that immediately the government concluded the amnesty plan there was a reduction in the attacks on fishing trawlers.
Orakwusi stated amnesty programmed seem to have failed as members of NITOA have experienced an up surge in the attacks on their fishing boats