By Ike Uchechukwu
CALABAR—The fate of several passengers in a boat that left Calabar, the Cross River State capital, with over 100 passengers and crew members for Cameroon was yesterday unknown after the boat capsized on the high sea.
Report said the boat capsized in Gulf of Guinea between Nimunda and Edina, in Cameroon, on Sunday with many feared missing.
Vanguard gathered the incident was discovered yesterday afternoon.
According to sources, the vessel left the Terminal C of the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, operated by Shoreline Logistics, on Sunday before the incident occurred on the high seas on the way to Cameroon around 6p.m.
Vanguard gathered the boat left Calabar around 4p.m. on Sunday, and the incident happened around 6p.m.
A source at the terminal who pleaded anonymity said the boat left Terminal C of the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, and was on the way to Cameroon and had over 100 persons on board.
The source said: “On the way to Cameroon it capsized on the high sea. We cannot confirm anything at this moment, but that is what happened.”
At the terminal yesterday, people were seen talking about the incident in whispers.
An affected merchant who also pleaded anonymity said he had some cargo he was transporting in the ill-fated boat, saying “From what we heard, the boat capsized on the high sea and even some passengers may be missing. The boat as usual was overloaded and that is what has been happening. The Federal Government should do more to ensure the safety of the passengers and the safety of the ship and the cargo. This is not the first time this is happening. The government should do more about safety.”
Meanwhile, a Cameroon Navy official who preferred not to be named, claimed 200 passengers were on board the ferry, which left Nigeria and was heading to Tiko wharf in Cameroon’s Southwest region.
The official disclosed that the Navy rescued over 100 people from the ferry, while over 90 others are still missing, adding that Search and Rescue, SAR, efforts have continued.
He highlighted that it was still unclear what caused the ferry to sink; though preliminary investigations showed it encountered rough weather.
Local authorities, yesterday, reported that a bulk cargo vessel with 25 crew, carrying nickel ore had gone missing off the eastern coast of Indonesia.
It was feared that its cargo of ore liquefying, probably shifted under strong tides resulting in sudden tilt, causing capsizing and sinking.
The authorities said the cargo vessel lost contact on Sunday after making a rescue call from the Indonesian waters.
According to the agency, the ship, named MV Nur Allya, was heading toward the province of Southeast Sulawesi when it sent an emergency signal from around Buru Island in the country’s Maluku Province.
Yusuf Latief, a spokesman for the National Search and Rescue Agency, said that the distress call indicated that there was a threat to the vessel.
According to the head of the local search and rescue office, Muslimin Samaila, after the loss of contact, rescuers rushed to where the ship’s signal was last registered.
Samaila said that the rescue operation had been halted for the night due to unfavourable weather conditions but would be resumed soonest.