By Godwin Oritse
The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, NAMM, has called for upward review of the sanction imposed on wrecks owners who come to lay claims for marine wrecks that have been removed from water channels.
Speaking at its Annual General Meeting where new executive members of the group were elected in Lagos recently, President of the association Captain Tajudeen Alao said that giving wreck owners one week to claim these object that poses danger to navigation is an encouragement to continue dumping such wrecks on the nation’s water ways.
Similarly, the Senior Vice President of the group, Capt. Onyin Iwebuke called for stringent sanctions against wreck owners so as to serve as deterrent to anybody that intend to leave their wrecks on the waters.
In his presentation, Captain Ihenacho Ebubeogu, a Master mariner, said that wreck owners have formed the habit of leaving their wrecks on the water channels waiting for government to remove them before coming forward to lay claims on these claims.
Ebubeogu explained that the law concerning wrecks in Nigeria also gives owners of these wreckages some level of protection as the law gives them one week to claim their wrecks or forfeit it afterwards.
He advised master mariners to put their thoughts together in a presentation and forward them to the appropriate quarters if they want a change in the way wreck owners are to be sanctioned.
The former sailor also said that Pilotage services are veritable statutory tools used to achieve the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS.
He said “The reason for this is that when a ship comes from the high seas, approaches her port and especially when she enters harbour, local knowledge of the water channel is essential to avoid accidents.