Several persons feared dead after Bayelsa boat mishap

Nembe—Several bodies are said to have been found following a boat mishap that occurred along the Okoroma axis in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, has gathered.

Recall that, yesterday, a local boat conveying passengers and goods from Yenagoa the state capital to Okpoama in Brass LGA on Thursday capsized near Iwokiri in Okoroma.

Speaking with our reporter in a telephone interview, the Bayelsa State Maritime Union Chairman, Comrade Ogoniba Ipigansi confirmed that several bodies have been found, following a search and rescue mission.

He said the exact number of casualties cannot be confirmed yet because effort is being intensified to look for more bodies.

“You know it is a big boat. And the boat doesn’t have a record, unlike a speed boat. People just enter the boat like that with their loads.

“So we are still searching the area to see if we can find more dead bodies. Because even the owner of the boat doesn’t know how many people were on board.”

Also speaking, a youth leader from Okoroma who pleaded to remain anonymous said only one body has been found.

“The body of the local boat worker was found. And more bodies may be found before the end of today,” he said.

A student, Comrade Kpe Jeremiah Ayebainemi, earlier confirmed to our reporter that his mother and child who were on the boat had been successfully rescued.

Giving an account of his experience before the boat departed Swali waterside for Okpoama, he alleged that the boat was loaded with goods beyond its capacity.

His words: “When I left for the waterside at Yenagoa to put them on the boat, the boat was tilted a bit to one side.

“They still loaded again about 200 bags of pure water at Okoroma even against the disdain of passengers and others that shortly after they had left the port it sank.

Ayebainemi, who is the student representative of Brass Local Government Federated Youth Council, cautioned boat operators and owners to be mindful of overloading.

He also urged the Ministry of Transport, Waterways Authority and security agencies to checkmate boat operators to make sure they don’t overload them beyond their capacity.

“They can’t joke with people’s life and property all for the greed of the change or money they want. This is the third time it is sinking again.

“If they don’t put a threshold on their greed, it will be the end of their business. I give God glory my family is hale and hearty.

“I believe the Ministry of Transport in line with the waterways authority and security agencies should checkmate these boats and make sure they don’t overload. In that way they could stop things like this from happening again,” he said.

The Bayelsa State Police Command is yet to make a statement as of the time of filing this report.

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