Nigeria has a shipwreck problem. According to Leadership Sunday, a prominent Nigerian newspaper, the country has become “a dumping ground for old ships and abandoned marine vessels.” By their account, 100 shipwrecks and derelicts litter Nigeria’s 530 miles of coastline. That’s a lot of wrecks in a small space and rumors of conspiracy are in the air. One merchant captain told the paper that some Nigerians may have connived with the owners of the ships to dump them in Nigeria. Nigerians own about 40 of the wrecks.
Despite being obvious navigation and environmental hazards, few wrecks are likely to be removed anytime soon because of the staggering cost of salvage. Experts estimate that it will cost approximately 70,000,000 naira (about $450,000) to dismantle each vessel, a heavy burden during an economic downturn. Chief Philip Asiodu, president of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, told the paper that the shipwrecks are time bombs waiting to explode, concluding: ““It would be an act of monumental irresponsibility for us to close our eyes to this issue.” Judging from the article, it appears that awareness to the “shipwreck problem” is growing. Action can’t be too far in the offing, at least that’s the hope.