Personnel of the Nigerian Navy have rescued over 250 passengers onboard a capsized boat in Rivers State.

The three-deck wooden boat was said to have departed from a local market in the Sangana area of Bayelsa State around 10 pm on April 28, 2024.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Navy’s Director of Information, Commodore A. Adams-Aliu, said the boat was approaching Rivers State when it encountered stormy waters and collided with a rock.

The statement read, “The Nigerian Navy personnel of Naval Security Station 023 deployed along Cawthorne Channel in Rivers State rescued over 250 passengers who were onboard a capsized passenger boat at about 10 pm local time on 28 April 2024.

“The ill-fated boat, MV PRECIOUS EMMANUEL cast off from a local market in Sangana area of Bayelsa State and was making way to Rivers State when it encountered stormy waters and hit a wreck which damaged its hull causing it to capsize.”

Adams-Aliu noted that the boat was overloaded, lacked any life-saving equipment onboard, and none of its passengers were wearing life jackets

He said, “Notably, the locally made, three-deck wooden vessel popularly known as “Large Cotonou Boat” was overborne, had no lifesaving equipment onboard and none of its passengers wore a lifejacket. ”

He noted that no lives were lost in the incident due to the prompt response of its personnel.

“It was the vigilant eyes and professional response of NN personnel who swiftly undertook a rescue mission that ensured no life was lost.

“This rescue effort is in line with the Strategic Directive of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla which states that “the strategic end state of NN operations is a safe and secure maritime environment in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea,” the statement added.

He encouraged maritime operators to consistently ensure that their boats are equipped with life-saving equipment.

Adams-Aliu said, “Additionally, the NN wishes to reiterate the importance of lifejackets, life buoys and other life-saving equipment to local maritime operators. Provision and proper utilisation of such equipment are imperative to the safety of lives at sea.”

Lately, there have been too many boat mishaps recorded in the country.

Recently, popular actor Pope Odonwodo, popularly known as Junior Pope and three others died after their boat capsized in Delta State.

Punch / Titilayo Kupoliyi

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