The United Nations (UN) says over 3,000 people died in the Mediterranean and Atlantic sea trying to reach Europe last year.
According to the UN, this number is double the toll from 2020.
A fresh report from the UN refugee agency demanded urgent action to combat surging deaths among refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants trying to reach Europe.
In 2021, the report showed, a total of 3,077 people were lost while trying to cross the Mediterranean and Atlantic routes to the continent, portraying an up from 1,544 in 2020.
“Alarmingly, since the beginning of the year, an additional 478 people have also died or gone missing at sea”, Spokeswoman, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Shabia Mantoo, stated this to reporters in Geneva.
The report showed that for 2021, 1,924 people were reported dead or missing on the Central and Western Mediterranean routes, while another 1,153 perished on the North African maritime route to the Canary Islands.
“Most of the sea crossings took place in packed, unseaworthy, inflatable boats, many of which capsized or were deflated leading to the loss of life,” Mantoo said.
The sea journey from countries on the West African coast such as Mauritania and Senegal to the Canary Islands was particularly perilous, she said, noting that the crossing could take up to 10 days.
“Many boats drifted off course or otherwise went missing without trace in these waters,” she said.
The increase in deaths at sea came amid a surge in the number of crossings.
The UNHCR report showed that 53,323 migrants arrived by boat in Italy last year, an 83 percent hike over 2020.
Also, 23,042 arrived in the Canary Islands, nearly the same number as a year earlier, it said.
The report also noted a 61 percent hike in departures from Tunisia compared to 2020, while departures from conflict-torn Libya shot up 150 percent.
They took the Central Mediterranean route, which is the world’s deadliest.
More than 17,000 people have died or gone missing along this route since 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.
The UNHCR cautioned that land routes were also “highly dangerous. Even greater numbers may have died on journeys through the Sahara desert and remote border areas, in detention centres, or while in the captivity of smugglers or traffickers”.
Migrants along all of these routes face a “litany of abuses”, she said, pointing to “extrajudicial killings, unlawful and arbitrary detention, sexual and gender-based violence, forced labour, slavery and forced marriage.”
UNHCR warned that the coronavirus pandemic and related border closures had complicated movement further and had forced more desperate refugees and migrants to turn to smugglers to make their perilous journeys.
10 Ships With PMS, LNG, Others Arrive Eastern Ports, Today …Lagos Port Hosts Five Ships With Frozen Fish
The Management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA ) says a total of ten ships laden with different cargoes will arrive three Eastern Ports, today.
The Ports are Onne, Calabar and Warri Ports, all located in South-South of Nigeria.
Vessels for Warri Port are Elizabeth A Spirit, Ozuchukwu, Akor, MT Picton and ST Walga, while those due for Calabar and Onne Ports are African Marvel, Asian Pride and Maersk Cubango.
Others are LNG Rivers and LNG Enugu for Onne port respectively.
This was contained in the Authority’s weekly Shipping Position, copy of which was made available to newsmen.
Names of the shipping agents for Warri Port are Amco, Admiral, Pinapat, Blue seas and Kach, while that of Calabar is Allray Maritime Services.
Onne Port has Samcham, Maserk Nig Limited, West Atlantic Port services Nig Limited, and Comet Shipping Services as agents.
The statement added that the ten ships are laden with Premium Motor Spirits (PMS), Crude oil, LNG, Bulk Fertilizer, Containers, Inballast, and Float Glasses.
In the same vein, Lagos Ports will receive five ships laden with Frozen Fish, while sixteen ships would discharge their bulk cargoes.
NPA said out of 21 ships expected to arrive at the ports,16 are bulk cargoes, while five are carrying Frozen Fish.
Other cargoes in the 16 ships include general cargo, bulk sugar, container, butane gas, petrol, bulk gypsum, jet fuel and automobile gasoline.
The NPA said the ships were expected to arrive at the ports from May 14 to May 26,2022.
It stated further that 12 other ships had arrived at the ports and waiting to berth with bulk sugar, bulk salt, bulk wheat, bulk fertiliser, petrol and base oil, adding that 19 other ships were at the ports discharging bulk cargoes.
The bulk cargoes include, wheat, general cargo, frozen fish, bulk salt, ethanol, bulk sugar, container and petrol.
FG Urges IMO To Retrain Port State Control Officers
Worried by lack of training and retraining of personnel in Ports State Control in Nigeria’s maritime industry, the Federal Government has charged the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to remain committed to the training and retraining of Ports State Control Officers.
This, the government said, is in a bid to aid effective and efficient examination of substandard ships in West and Central Africa.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, stated this in Lagos during the regional workshop for Heads of maritime administrations in West and Central Africa.
She enjoined Port State Control Officers in the region to acquaint themselves with new trends, innovations, inventions, and topical issues in their field.
“One of the yardsticks for measuring an effective MoU is its ability to ensure a harmonised system of Port State Control, strengthen cooperation, as well as information exchange amongst members with the ultimate aim of preventing the operation of substandard ships within the MoU region.
“This workshop/training, which will keep participants abreast of current events, innovations, inventions, and topical issues in the industry, couldn’t have come at a better time than now when the Abuja MoU is striving to become the enviable MoU in terms of quality of service and performance amongst the nine regional MoUs. I commend the Secretary-General and secretariat of the Abuja MoU.
“The essence of port state control is to inspect foreign ships in national ports to verify the condition of the ship and its equipment and ascertain that she is manned/operated in compliance with the requirements of international conventions/regulations to ensure maritime safety and security and prevent pollution of the marine environment.
“To this end, regular training and retraining of port state control officers are key in ensuring that they display a high level of professionalism and skill in the conduct of inspections on board ships calling at their ports.
“I, therefore, wish to urge the heads of maritime administrations here present to ensure that similar training(s) as this is replicated for Port State Control Officers in your respective administrations.
“It should be noted that the Abuja MoU is not tied to one Member State alone. All Member States here present are critical stakeholders of the MoU.
“Therefore, we must all join forces and strive to ensure that we constantly uphold the ideals and objectives upon which the MoU was established. For this reason,
“I urge all member states to play their part in contributing to the growth of the Abuja MoU, so that we can constantly meet expectations and safeguard our marine domains.
“I wish to encourage every member state that has not ratified and domesticated the Abuja MoU relevant instruments, which include the IMO and ILO conventions/codes for PSC to do so promptly, so that we can move with the tide of the IMO,” Ajani noted.
Boat Misharp: NIWA Tasks Drivers, Passengers On Safety Rules
Following the incessant accidents in the nation’s waterways across the country, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has called on boat drivers and passengers to always adhere to safety rules and guidelines regulating water transportation.
The Authority also appealed to water users to always use their life jackets, desist from sailing at night, and overloading of passengers.
NIWA said the use of standard boats and not overloading, as well as not over speeding the boats are key guidelines for safe passenger transportation
General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, Mr Jibril Dardau, who stated this in a statement issued to newsmen in Lagos, appealed to passengers and boat drivers to “obey the rules and guidelines regulating passenger transportation”.
The Authority, he said “ recently distributed life jackets and some patrol vessels to all its area offices across the country to enhance surveillance and monitoring of activities on the waterways”.
He expressed displeasure over the recurring boat accidents across Nigeria in spite of the efforts put in place by the agency.
“The authority noted with sadness the unfortunate boat accident that occurred on May 4 at about 11:00 p.m. in Mai-Adua Local Government Area of Katsina State in which 15 persons lost their lives.
“We are greatly pained that this mishap occurred, despite all the measures the Authority has put in place to forestall such mishaps.
NIWA insisted that we will not relent in our efforts to curb these occurrences within our inland waterways,” he said.
By: Stories by Chinedu Wosu
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10 Ships With PMS, LNG, Others Arrive Eastern Ports, Today …Lagos Port Hosts 5 Ships With Frozen Fish