Buhari Mourns Victims Of Boat Mishap

President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during the registration and revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress on January 30, 2021.
File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the victims boat which capsized at Corner Libata in Ingaski Local Government Area of Kebbi State

Buhari in a statement issued on Wednesday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, commiserated with the families of the victims.

More than 150 people were missing and feared drowned in northwest Nigeria after an overloaded boat ferrying passengers to a market sank in the Niger River, local officials said.

The boat was travelling between central Niger state and Wara in northwest Kebbi state when it went down, National Inland Waterways Authority local manager Yusuf Birma told reporters.

Reacting, President Buhari described the news of the capsizing as devastating, offering his heartfelt condolences to the families of those affected by this tragedy.

READ ALSO: At Least 100 Missing As Boat Capsizes In Niger

According to the President’s spokesman, there are indications that the boat was overloaded and there is no official confirmation on the number of casualties.

“While efforts are ongoing to recover more survivors, the President extends his gratitude to all those involved in the rescue efforts and wishes those injured from the accident quick recovery,” the statement partly read.

The passengers were said to be heading to a market in Malele in Borgu local government area of Niger state when the boat sank an hour into the journey.

Local district administrator Abdullahi Buhari Wara earlier blamed the accident on overloading as the boat was meant to ferry no more than 80 passengers.

Boat tragedies are common on Nigerian waterways mostly due to overcrowding, bad weather and lack of maintenance, but Wednesday’s toll would be one of the deadliest recent accidents.

“The vessel was also loaded with bags of sand from a gold mine,” he said.

Early this month 30 people drowned when an overloaded boat capsized in Niger state.

The boat ferrying 100 local traders split into two after hitting a stump during a storm as they were returning from a local market, according to emergency officials.

The Niger is West Africa’s main river running in a crescent through Guinea to Nigeria’s Niger Delta and is a key local trade route for some of the countries.

 

Migrants Jump From Rescue Boat In Bid To Reach Italy

A patrol boat of the Italian Coast Guards (Guardia Costiera) transports migrants towards the port of Palermo, Sicily, on September 17, 2020 after they rescued them at sea after a group of 76 migrants threw themselves into the sea from the rescue vessel of Spanish NGO Open Arms, off Palermo, Sicily.  (Photo by Alessandro FUCARINI / AFP)

 

Dozens of migrants jumped overboard from their rescue boat outside the Italian port of Palermo on Thursday, before being plucked from the waves by the coast guard.

Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish charity, said that 76 of the 276 migrants it had saved in the Mediterranean in its latest mission “threw themselves in the water in an attempt to reach the coast”.

“They are all safe, after being recovered by the Italian coast guard. Some 188 people remain on board, including women and children, two of whom are small,” it said in a statement.

The charity appealed to the Italian authorities to allow the remaining migrants to disembark.

The Open Arms ship has been waiting outside the Palermo port since yesterday, when it warned of a “critical situation” among the migrants, who were rescued in three operations between September 8-10 off the coasts of Malta and Libya.

AFP

Boat Carrying Nearly 370 Migrants Reaches Italy’s Lampedusa

Rescued migrants are being transfered at the commercial port of Lampedusa on August 29, 2020 from the Coast Guard patrol boat “CP-1319”, which transhipped them from the civilian rescue boat “Louise Michel” 50 miles southeast of the Italian pelagic island. – An Italian coastguard vessel came to the rescue on August 29, 2020 of rescue vessel “Louise Michel” funded by British street artist Banksy, which sent out a distress signal on with more than 200 migrants onboard.  Mauro Seminara / AFP.

 

A fishing boat carrying nearly 370 migrants landed overnight on the Italian island of Lampedusa, the country’s news agencies reported on Sunday, as a nearby humanitarian ship carrying another 350 people sought a port of disembarkation.

Italy has been struggling in recent months to deal with daily arrivals of hundreds of migrants to its southern shores, a task complicated by security measures imposed by the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The boat carrying 367 people, which was in danger of sinking due to high winds, was escorted by the Italian coast guard and police to the island’s port, ANSA news agency said.

They were met at the port by a demonstration organised by the far-right, anti-immigrant League party.

The migrants, whose nationalities were not known, underwent temperature checks before they were taken to an emergency reception centre on the island which now houses some 1,160 people, 10 times its maximum capacity, Lampedusa’s mayor, Toto Martello, told ANSA.

About 30 other small boats, mostly from the Tunisian coast, had already reached the island since Friday carrying some 500 migrants, the Italian press reported.

“Lampedusa can no longer cope with this situation. Either the government takes immediate decisions or the whole island will go on strike. We can’t manage the emergency and the situation is now really unsustainable,” Martello told ANSA.

Nello Musumeci, the right-leaning leader of sister island Sicily, on Sunday wrote on Facebook that he would ask the government for a meeting on the “humanitarian and health crisis”.

“Lampedusa can’t do it anymore. Sicily cannot continue to pay for the indifference of Brussels and the silence of Rome,” he wrote.

– ‘Traumatic injuries’ –

The Italian coast guard on Saturday also transported 49 people who had been rescued in the Mediterranean by the MV Louise Michel, a vessel funded by the street artist Banksy.

The 150 other passengers on that ship were transferred late Saturday to the humanitarian rescue boat Sea-Watch 4, which now has some 350 people on board and is looking for a port of disembarkation.

Migrants are being transfered at the commercial port of Lampedusa on August 29, 2020 from the Coast Guard patrol boat “CP-1319”, which transhipped them from the civilian rescue boat “Louise Michel” 50 miles southeast of the Italian pelagic island. – An Italian coastguard vessel came to the rescue on August 29, 2020 of rescue vessel “Louise Michel” funded by British street artist Banksy, which sent out a distress signal on with more than 200 migrants onboard. Mauro Seminara / AFP.

 

The crew of the vessel chartered by German NGO Sea Watch and medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wrote on Twitter that it was treating people for “fuel burns, dehydration, hypothermia & traumatic injuries”.

The German-flagged Louise Michel had said it needed aid after helping a boat carrying at least one dead migrant in the sea that divides Africa and Europe.

Its crew said the 31-metre (101-foot) ship had become overcrowded and unable to move, warning that some of the migrants had fuel burns and had been at sea for days.

The rescued migrants later said three people had died at sea before the arrival of the Louise Michel.

Banksy, who keeps his identity a secret, explained in an online video that he had bought the boat to help migrants “because EU authorities deliberately ignore distress calls from non-Europeans”.

Thousands of people are thought to have died making the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean to flee conflict, repression and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, attempts by migrant boats to cross the Mediterranean into Europe have increased this year, up 91 percent from January to July over last year’s figures, to more than 14,000 people.

AFP

Dozens Feared Drowned After Migrant Boat Sinks Off Mauritania

File photo of Mauritania map

 

 

 

About 40 people are feared dead after a migrant vessel sank off the coast of Mauritania, the UN said Thursday, in a fresh tragedy along the Atlantic migration route to Europe.

In a tweet, the UN refugee agency’s special envoy for the central Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel, said one person from the West African state of Guinea had survived.

The boat sank off the northern city of Nouadhibou, Mauritania’s second largest, according to Cochetel.

“New shipwreck off the coast of Nouadhibou #Mauritania of approximately 40 persons on board, there is one survivor (from Guinea)” Cochetel said on Twitter, without specifying when the incident happened.

Other details about the event remained unclear and some accounts were conflicting.

A Mauritanian security official, who declined to be named, told AFP that the sinking did not take place in Mauritanian waters, but “far from our shores”.

The official interviewed the Guinean survivor from a hospital bed in Mauritania, however, who said that he and his friends had attempted to travel from Morocco to Spain’s Canary Islands.

The archipelago lies more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the coast of Africa at its closest point.

After the boat’s engines failed, the passengers aboard the vessel reportedly leapt into the open sea.

“They’re all dead, I think. I am the only survivor,” the security official reported the Guinean survivor as saying.

Cochetel tweeted that international organisations “are trying to step up efforts to prevent such tragedies, but traffickers keep lying to their clients.”

Charlie Yaxley, the UN refugee agency’s spokesman for Africa, said that very little information had been confirmed, but that UN officials are “on site providing assistance”.

– Perilous route –

Despite the lack of details, the incident bears strong similarities to a migrant disaster off Mauritania in December.

In that instance, 62 people drowned after their makeshift vessel — also travelling to the Canaries — hit a rock and capsized some 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of Nouadhibou.

Passengers jumped into the ocean as the craft began taking on water, and 83 people survived by swimming ashore.

Migrants have increasingly opted to risk the perilous route from West Africa to the Canaries in recent years, as authorities have clamped down on crossings from Libya to Europe.

The Atlantic route is especially dangerous as shoddy migrant vessels have to ply the ocean in order to reach the Spanish islands.

At least 170 people are known to have died trying to reach the Canary Islands in 2019, according to the IOM, against 43 the previous year.

AFP

Eight Dead In US Boat Dock Blaze

 

Eight people were killed in a late-night fire that swept through docked boats on a lake in the southern US state of Alabama, the local fire chief said Monday.

“At this point, I can confirm eight fatalities,” said Gene Necklaus, the fire chief of Scottsboro, Alabama, a town of 14,000 on the banks of Guntersville Lake where the blaze broke out.

Necklaus had earlier said eight people were missing, but in giving the same number of fatalities said: “it doesn’t mean the recovery effort is over.”

The fire broke out around midnight Sunday into Monday, tearing through a dock area on the lake and destroying 35 boats.

Necklaus called the scene “one of the more devastating things I’ve ever seen.”

He said some people jumped into the water to escape the flames, and others retreated to other boats.

“Of those, seven were removed from the water and transported to a (hospital) all in stable conditions at this point. All told, we believe that 35 boats were destroyed,” he said.

The dock was in a recreational area of Jackson County Park that had walking paths, a restaurant and boat ramps as well as the dock.

AFP

Turkish Boat Sinks After Crash With Russian Tanker

 

 

Three people were missing after a Turkish fishing boat and a Russian-flagged tanker collided on Friday off Istanbul’s northern coast, the Turkish coastguard said.

The Turkish boat sank after the collision around 0330 GMT, the coastguard said in a statement.

Three people were rescued and search-and-rescue efforts were ongoing for the three that remained missing, around the area of Kilyos where the Bosphorus meets the Black Sea.

The Russian tanker named GLARD-2 was travelling to the Aegean region of Izmir from Russia, the coastguard said.

The cause of the incident was not immediately clear.

At Least 13 Migrants Dead In Italy Boat Tragedy

 

The Italian coastguard said Monday it had recovered the bodies of 13 women, some of them pregnant, after a boat carrying around 50 migrants capsized off Lampedusa.

Around a dozen people, reportedly including eight children and other pregnant women, are still missing after the small, overloaded boat capsized off the coast of the southern Italian island, the coastguard said.

Three Killed In Italy Boat Accident

A tourist boat sails on the Gran Canal at sunset on September 14, 2019 in Venice.
Ludovic MARIN / AFP

 

Three people have been killed in Venice after a powerboat attempting to break an offshore record slammed into an artificial spit of land in the dark, Italian firefighters and media reports said Wednesday.

Italian champion Fabio Buzzi and two British racers died in the crash late Tuesday while another Italian racer survived, the reports said citing Giampaolo Montavoci, president of the national offshore and endurance commission.

The accident happened as the vessel, some 20 metres (65 feet) long and able to travel up to 130 kilometres (80 miles) an hour, tried to break the Monte Carlo to Venice record.

Firefighters said they pulled three bodies from the submerged boat while the survivor had been thrown clear.

The vessel was nearly at the finishing line when it hit the Punta Sabbioni spit, built to protect the city’s “Mose” flood barrier, reports said.

Large boulders piled up on one another from the sea floor run the length of the spit.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is slowly sinking — something the “Mose” (Moses) system is designed to combat.

The crash was the latest in a string of accidents in the floating city, which sees everything from tiny gondolas to speedboats and vast cruise ships cross its waterways.

In June, the giant 13-deck MSC Opera rammed into a dockside in Venice and knocked into a small tourist boat, injuring four people and sending others on the pier running for safety.

A month later, the 12-deck Costa Deliziosa, nearly 300 metres long, narrowly missed a yacht while being towed out of Venice in stormy conditions.

But the hugely costly array of mobile barriers at the mouth of Venice’s lagoon has suffered years of delays, and is now only expected to be finished in 2021, local daily La Nuova di Venezia said.

AFP

36 People Missing After Boat Sinks In Congo River

 

Thirty-six people are missing after a boat sank in the Congo river on the outskirts of Kinshasa, DR Congo police said on Sunday.

Seventy-six people survived after the vessel went down overnight on the outskirts of the capital, the police wrote on Twitter.

“The cause of the accident is not yet known,” police spokesperson Colonel Pierrot-Rombaut Mwanamputu told AFP.

AFP

33 Bodies Recovered After California Dive Boat Disaster

FBI personnel stand on a jetty in front of the ships Vision (L) and Truth, sister vessels of the diving ship Conception, in Santa Barbara Harbor on September 4, 2019 in Santa Barbara, California. MARIO TAMA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Rescue workers have recovered a total of 33 bodies from a scuba-diving boat disaster off the coast of California, authorities said Wednesday, adding that one person remains missing.

Search operations for survivors were suspended Tuesday morning, and rescuers have begun an operation to free remains still trapped in the wreckage, which sank 66 feet (20 meters), and to determine the cause of the catastrophe.

The remains of 11 women and nine men were found after the 75-foot Conception caught fire and sank early Monday, trapping passengers below deck beneath the roaring blaze.

Divers have since recovered 13 other bodies, according to the Santa Barbara County sheriff’s department, which is in charge of the investigation.

All the remains have been transported to coroner offices for DNA identification. Authorities have not released details on any victims’ identities.

The boat had been on a diving excursion around Santa Cruz Island, just west of Santa Barbara in southern California.

A total of 39 people — six crew members and 33 passengers — were on board, officials said.

Five crew members were awake and jumped into the water when flames burst out around 3:15 am Monday. They were rescued by a nearby pleasure craft.

The remaining 34 people on board, who were sleeping below deck, appear to have been trapped by the flames.

The fire was so intense that firefighters were unable to board the boat, which sank as they tried to extinguish the blaze. The cause of the disaster is currently unknown.

The website for Truth Aquatics, which owned the Conception, said the ship was scheduled to return Monday from a three-day trip after visiting several diving spots around Santa Cruz Island.

Built in 1981 and with bunks for up to 46 people, the Conception was just 20 yards (meters) off the island’s northern shore when disaster struck.

The area is popular for a variety of water and outdoor sports.

Five Migrants Dead, 20 Missing As Boat Sinks Off Libya

 

The bodies of five migrants including a Moroccan child were recovered off Libya’s coast Tuesday while up to 20 others were missing after a Europe-bound boat sank, the navy said.

Navy spokesman Ayoub Kacem told reporters 65 migrants, mostly from Sudan, were rescued off Khoms, a town 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of Tripoli.

The vessel was believed to have been carrying up to 90 people, he said, based on survivors’ accounts.

Libya has long been a major transit route for migrants, especially from sub-Saharan Africa.

People traffickers have operated with impunity in the chaos that followed the 2011 uprising which toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

AFP

Seven Killed As Boat Capsizes In DR Congo

 

Seven people drowned after a transport boat sank after hitting rocks on a lake in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo over the weekend, local authorities said on Monday.

Lake and river transport is widely used in the DRC as the highway system is poor, but accidents are common, often caused by overloading and the unsafe state of vessels.

The “total number of deaths is seven,” the local minister of transport and communication in South Kivu province, Claude Swedy Basila said in a statement.

Authorities rescued 102 survivors, it said.

READ ALSO: South Africa’s Ramaphosa Wins Legal Battle With Graft Agency

The private boat, carrying 110 passengers, mainly traders, was travelling to the island of Idjwi when it struck a rock Saturday before capsizing.

Saturday’s disaster involved a “baleiniere” or “whaler” — a commonly-used flat-bottomed vessel resembling a motorised canoe 15 to 30 metres (50 to 100 feet) long by two to six metres wide.

At least 30 people died and dozens more went missing in May after a boat accident on a lake in western DRC.

In the vast majority of accidents, passengers are not equipped with life jackets and many cannot swim.

Since the beginning of the year, at least 190 people have died in boat accidents in the DRC, according to an AFP count.

Earlier this year at least 167 people died in two accidents prompting President Felix Tshisekedi to make it mandatory for boat passengers to have lifejackets.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest country, the DRC is struggling with local conflicts, and in remote areas the control of the central government in Kinshasa is weak.

AFP