N25bn Required To Remove Abandoned Shipwreck – Lagos Govt.

Lagos State Government has said that it requires about N25 billion to effectively remove over 200 abandoned ship wrecks and vessels along the state coastline and waterways.

Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Prince Adesegun Oniru disclosed this at the ministerial press briefing on activities of his ministry in the last one year, as well as marking the seventh anniversary in office of Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration.

Oniru, lamented that wrecked ships, pose serious danger to navigation on the water ways as well as the health of residents, because of the toxic nature resulting from the decay of the wreckage.

According to him: “There are over 200 shipwrecks and abandoned vessels currently lying on the state’s coastline including lagoons,” adding that the vessels were responsible for some of the environmental issue, especially degradation of the coastlines.

He said: “There are also security concerns as these wrecks can serve as hideout for hoodlums to carry out their nefarious activities.

The commissioner stressed: “The removal of these shipwrecks and abandoned vessels lying on our coastline and waterways is not a small task and it will cost nothing less than N25 billion to effectively remove the wrecks from the state’s coastline.”

He said it was not the responsibility of the state government to cough out the required amount, lamenting that efforts to get the federal government to aid the protection of coastlines had yielded little or no result.

Oniru, however revealed that government is currently working on a law aimed at finding and prosecuting owners of abandoned vessel on its coastline.

He explained: “Our ministry is working with the Ministry of Justice to put legislation together. You cannot anchor a vessel out in the Atlantic and whenever there is a strong wind or surge and the anchor snaps and it’s at the mercy of the Atlantic, then they leave it there and disappear. When the legislation is put in place, this would be a thing of the past.

“Once the legislation is ready, it would be brought to the executive and once it is passed the bill will be passed to the House of Assembly to look at it and pass into law,” Oniru added.

Meanwhile, the state government has shut down and is currently prosecuting nine illegal sand dredging companies, just as 33 persons have also been arrested for violating the land dredging law in the state.

Oniru explained that the state in 2007 restructured sand dredging activities and outlawed indiscriminate dredging, saying; “and since then, anyone who wants to dredge must seek approval from the state government before dredging.”

He added “Part of the restructure was that the state government spelt out three categories to specify which aspect one intends to invest. And since then, we have issued about 100 permits for the three categories.”

Also speaking, Managing Director of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr. Yinka Marinho, said aside shipwrecks, logs could also trigger boat mishaps. [Vanguard]

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lagos, LASWA, oniru, shipwreck


  • The total number of wrecks on the coastal line and the inland waters of lagos state are over 200 all of which are either constituting navigational obstructions or massive erosion to the environment. Some of these wrecks have been there for over 10 years. The damage is beyond description. An urgent step needs to be taking in order to prevent further detoriation of the areas sorounding these wrecks. In recent times accidents have occurred leading to lose of precious lives due to wrecks that are fully or partially submerged in the water ways. The step that needs to be taken includes identifying the wrecks and marking them. Wreck buoys can be floated very close to the wrecks to steer away commuter boats and ensure safety of the waterway users. This is of cause not a substitute to total removal of the casualties.
    Coming back to the cost of removal, from my experience as a marine salvage and ship breaking expert, I’m of the opinion that the honourably commissioner has under estimated the cost of these wreck removal. We have participated in a lot of wreck removal and ship breaking in Nigeria and have equally monitored and equally large number of similar operations going on around the globe. If we are permitted to make comparisons then we should be looking almost 3 times the cost that the commissioner is talking about or more.
    Justification – The Costa concordia was refloated at almost US 600M excluding disposal which is still being deliberated, Titan salvage spent US 24M to remove only one wreck which took a year to achieve, the list can go on and on. Amongst the ship wrecks in the coast there are ones that have almost been buried in silt, the difficulty of the removal is only known to a salvage master. and, we are talking 200 or more of these wrecks.
    I am wishing that the Federal government will declare a drastic measure to tackle this issue and to put place a policy that will ensure that any vessel that runs aground will be removed within the shortest possible time. Ship operators can be made to adequately cover their vessels with insurance and a trust fund can be established to help in handling emergencies in the marine industries.

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