Bakassi : 14 Other Corpses Retrieved From Fallen Ship

Fourteen corpses were retrieved on 27 August from the Achouka company ship named Austrheim which capsized last 25 August at the Rio Cameroon waters in Bakassi. The death toll so rises to 17. The vessel hit a sandy bed and tumbled with over than 130 passengers on board. It was 3.20 pm Sunday when a distress alert was sounded after the vessel left Calabar by 11.45 am Sunday. The water is usually shallow at the place of the incident. The Cameroon Navy and the BIR military corps succeeded in saving the lives of 107 of the passengers from the wrecking ship. The Ship Captain had been sailing on the same route weekly for the past five years with Achouka. Only 90 of the supposed 132 passengers were officially recorded in the manifest. Some of the Nigerian survivors quickly returned to Calabar without being identified. The ship capacity was explained to be 220 sits and its weight tonnage 456 tons. The vessel, Austrheim, though built in 1976 in Norway, was bought in 2012 by Achouka. Achouka is in ma

ritime transport business since 20 years now.  These were the preliminary pieces of information garnered during a crisis meeting chaired by the Governor of the South West Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai. He mobilized to the Limbe Naval Base on 27 August where a crisis confab was held in the afternoon. Those in attendance included South West Regional Delegate of Transport, (Ruth Limunga Kange epse Kedze), Achouka Camatrans Ships CEO (James Chona Kamaha), BIR Military and Navy officers and the Governor’s command staff. The meeting analysed the first facts about the ship incident. The Ship’s CEO Chona Kamaha explained that the ship was normally insured, had 320 life jackets and four life rafts. Mr. Okalia Bilai left Limbe certainly vexed that précised information about

the vessel involved in the incident was only coming in bits. To begin with, the manifest of the ship that left Calabar (Nigeria) Sunday contained only 90 names as official passengers including the technical crew. Along the line four other passengers who survived the sinking were later indicated back on the shores of Calabar after having been rescued by canoe men. The Governor used the circumstance to congratulate the military corps that rescued the lives they could. He warned against laxity with the Transport officials who are lukewarm, condone or ignore suspicious situations leaving room for unclear situations of crime at sea. He cited the Wovia Batoke creek operators who continue to flout administrative orders and import petrol for illegal sale

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