Seven bodies recovered from Cameroon-bound vessel mishap
Following last Sunday’s mishap involving a Cameroon-bound vessel from Calabar, Cross River State, only seven dead bodies have so far been recovered while 108 were rescued.
Even though no authentic official figure has been given on the number of persons on-board when the vessel capsized, sources close to Shoreline, operators of the harbour where the vessel took off on Sunday evening, put it at about 180 passengers and the crew members.
Going by this, it means many people are still missing and there is no official manifest on total number of passengers and crew members.
Online report quoting Col. Kinvy Nkande of Cameroon Army Special Battalion Intervention, SBI Unit, said: “The boat was overloaded with passengers and cargo and as we speak, 108 persons have been rescued and seven dead bodies have been recovered. So far, three were brought out yesterday (Monday) while four others were recovered today (yesterday).
“Others people are still trapped. We are seeking for joint intervention from Nigeria’s safety authority because most of the passengers are Nigerians and the boat came from Nigeria. So far, the rescue and search operation is being done by Cameroun authority alone.”
At the Nigerian side, information is still sketchy as journalists were barred from entering the Shorelines harbour, which is the property of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Meanwhile, few persons suspected to be relations of some of the passengers decried the attitude of Shoreline and NPA as “people are not allowed to go in. We are worried because no serious information is coming out.”
One of the persons, Mr. Okon Etim, said: “My brother travelled on Sunday and since we heard of the mishap, no contact and the office here, we are not allowed in. This is not good.
“As I am talking now, I don’t even know if my brother is alive or not. The government of Nigeria should do something.”
The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Victory Public Relations Officer, Sub-Lt. A. A. Amai, confirmed the incident, saying: “I don’t know the number of casualties yet, rescue operation is ongoing as we speak but the information we have is still sketchy.”
Chief Press Secretary to Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Christian Ita, said: “The information we had was that the thing happened in Camerounian waters, not Nigerian waters. Our security agencies are liaising with their Camerounian counterparts to ensure adequate response to the situation.”
The Director-General of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Princewill Anyim, said: “We are not in a position to give the figure but the Nigerian Navy, which is in charge of the waterways. We are following the situation.”
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