Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Navy rescues 250 passengers in boat accident in Rivers

He emphasised the need for waterway travellers to be provided life jackets during their journey.

• April 29, 2024
Boat Mishap
Boat Mishap used to illustrate the story

The navy, on Monday, successfully rescued no fewer than 250 passengers from being drowned after a boat hit a wreckage at Buguma creek in Asari-Toru area of Rivers.

MV Precious Emmanual, a commercial double decker wooden boat, was conveying the passengers and goods worth millions of naira when it hit the wreckage.

Commodore Desmond Igbo, the commander, Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, who led journalists to the accident scene at Buguma, confirmed that no life was lost.

He said that naval patrol boats responded to a distress call at about 10:30 p.m. on Sunday to carry out the search and rescue operation.

”We mobilised personnel for a search and rescue mission. Thanks to our swift response and God’s intervention, there were no casualties,” he said.

Mr Igbo said that apart from combating oil theft and maritime crimes, the navy was also committed to protecting lives and property.

He emphasised the need for waterway travellers to be provided life jackets during their journey.

The commander urged the Rivers government to establish a sea search and rescue unit to prevent casualties in boat accidents.

”NNS Pathfinder has already documented a procedure to establish an emergency maritime unit in the state,” he said.

Also speaking, the boat captain, Prosper Isokari, expressed gratitude for the navy’s prompt response and confirmed that all passengers were rescued without casualties

He explained that the boat collided with a wreckage, causing it to puncture and sink.

”We were travelling from Sangana, Brass in Bayelsa to Nembe Jetty in Port Harcourt when a sudden strong wind and tide pushed our boat into a wreckage and punctured it.

”The navy arrived immediately after receiving a distress call, moved into our boat and rescued all the passengers from the sinking boat,” he said.

One of the rescued passengers, Samuel Ikpe, said that he lost over N1.5 million worth of goods in the accident.

He expressed worries that most passengers who use that route lacked the culture of using life jackets.

”Most passengers do not wear life jackets, we strongly believe that the large double decker boat is unsinkable but we were wrong,” Mr Ikpe said.

It was gathered that the boat was also transporting food items, such as dry fish, crayfish, plantains and alcoholic beverages among others.


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