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79-foot fishing vessel runs aground off Oahu, 20 Men rescued

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…As Operators advise FG: Shut down Apapa port***

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 19 foreign fishermen and their American captain from a 79-foot (24-meter) U.S.-flagged commercial fishing vessel that ran aground off the shore of Waikiki Tuesday night.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir said Wednesday that officials are working to get diesel fuel off the boat, which carries 13,000 gallons (49,210 liters) of gas and hydraulic oils. There was no sign that any fuel or other hazardous materials had leaked into the water, Muir said.

Officials did not receive a distress call from the Honolulu-based Pacific Princess when it ran aground in shallow water less than 400 yards (366 meters) offshore, Muir said. Eyewitnesses on land reported the incident to the Coast Guard, which responded with the Honolulu Fire Department by boat, jet skis and helicopter. No one was injured.

The Coast Guard does not yet know why the captain or crew did not call for help. “The Coast Guard is investigating the circumstances of why the vessel grounded and I’m sure that’s a question they are asking,” Muir said.

All but three of the men aboard the boat were moved to a nearby Coast Guard vessel and returned to shore. The captain and two crew members were hoisted from the fishing boat by helicopter and flown to Honolulu International Airport, where they were met by police and federal immigration officials.

The boat’s foreign crew is being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at Pier 17 in Honolulu because they do not have visas to enter the United States.

Hundreds of foreign workers are employed in the Hawaii fishing fleet due to a federal loophole that allows them to work but exempts them from most basic labor protections. Many come from impoverished Southeast Asian and Pacific nations to take the dangerous jobs, which can pay as little as 70 cents an hour, a 2016 Associated Press investigation found.

The Coast Guard said the 19 crew members of the Pacific Princess are from Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Some may find other boats to work on while others may return to their home countries, Muir said.

Officials will try to salvage the vessel during high tides in the coming days.

The Coast Guard said rescuers arrived at the boat just before midnight Tuesday in calm seas with 11 mph (18 kph) winds. The area is dominated by coral reefs.

Records show the longline tuna fishing boat is owned by TWOL LLC. in Honolulu. The same company is listed as owning the Pacific Dragon commercial fishing vessel.

In the meantime, against the backdrop of the unbearable gridlock along the Apapa and Tin Can port access roads which has been made worse by the ongoing road rehabilitation work, operators in the maritime sector have urged the Federal Government to shut down the Apapa port completely and allow the road repairs to be carried out without interruption from vehicular traffic.

Some operators had earlier suggested that cargoes should be diverted to other ports in Nigeria but the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms. Hadiza Usman, said that it was not in the hands of government to relocate cargoes but it was importers that would decide where vessels carrying their cargoes should berth.

The Chairman, International Freight Forwarders Association, PTML Chapter, Sunny Nnebe, said that while it might not be in the hands of government to divert cargoes to other ports, the government however had the power to close the port and restrict access.

He advised the government to take this action, adding that it would enable the road rehabilitation to go on unhindered.

He said, “If the government shuts down the port completely, importers will know that the port cannot be accessed and they have no option than to move to other ports.

“There are ports in Rivers State; at Onne, ships can berth comfortably. The government should close down the (Apapa) port because the work cannot go on smoothly as long as there are tankers and trucks moving up and down the entire area and disrupting the work.”

Nnebe also suggested that the government should relocate the tank farms, stressing that the action would lessen the volume of vehicular traffic into Apapa since most of the vehicles entering Apapa were tankers going to take delivery of petroleum products.

The Coordinator of the Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Dr. Osita Chukwu, supported the closure of the Apapa port.

He claimed that importers spent over N5bn every month because of the traffic situation in the area.

“If one uses $10,000 to import goods only to spend $20,000 in getting the goods out of the port, that is a loss,” he said, adding that importers were willing to move their cargoes to any other port as long as government makes that port conducive.

Chukwu said, “We spend five hours going into and out of Apapa everyday. Many containers are involved in offshore business; the vessels carrying them cannot berth because the ones that berthed cannot leave. Some containers had been cleared by Customs after complete examination was carried out on them but these containers have been unable to get out of the port. Some containers sit on top of trucks for days in an attempt to get into the port.

“The government can shut down the port. There are other ports outside Lagos and bonded terminals that are scattered all over the country with their own excise offices. Let the government close down the port so that the road repairs can be done once and for all.”

He doubted the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi’s pronouncement that the Apapa gridlock would end in December, adding that it was not possible as long as the port remained open for business.

An importer, Edy Akwaeze, equally joined the call for the closure of the port and the relocation of tank farms from Apapa.

“Let them take the tank farms out of Apapa to Badagry border. The ports should be closed and the containers should be relocated to Kano or Abeokuta where there are bonded terminals lying idle. They can make use of these terminals while they work on the roads,” he said.

ABC with additional report from Punch

Accidents

Tanker Tyre Explosion Sparks Chaos In Surulere

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Tanker Tyre Explosion Sparks Chaos In Surulere

 Pandemonium engulfed Ekololu, a community in the Surulere area of Lagos, on Monday night when the back tyres of a tanker transporting fuel to a Conoil filling station burst into flames near the station.

The News Correspondent who resides in the area reports that the explosion of the tyres and the ensuing billows of smoke made residents living near the filling station flee for safety.

Observations by the newsmen revealed that staff from the filling station hurried out with fire extinguishers to combat the fire, which erupted around 9:00 p.m., just a few meters from the station’s entrance.

Emergency responders, including Federal and State Fire Services, as well as the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA), swiftly arrived at the scene following distress calls from the community.

The ill-fated tanker that caused the pandemonium

Upon arrival, the emergency teams assessed the unregistered truck carrying the petrol and raised concerns about safety measures while questioning the driver and filling station management.

They provided guidance and oversaw the safe discharge of the fuel using a long hose to transfer the petroleum product from the stranded tanker into the filling station’s reservoirs.

The Station Manager of the Conoil filling station, Mr Kunle Oniya, informed the emergency responders that the station possessed 20 fire extinguishers, which were promptly utilised to contain the fire and prevent its spread.

The incident led to a traffic gridlock, with vehicles unable to move in the area for nearly an hour.

Some residents shared their experiences of the ordeal with the newsmen.

A resident, Malam Shehu, recounted abandoning his dinner upon witnessing the fiery explosion.

He expressed gratitude that the fire was contained before causing further damage.

Another resident, known as Iya Abigail, described hearing people shouting while she was playing games, prompting her to flee in confusion wearing her nightclothes.

She prayed for continued safety in the community.

An elderly resident, who preferred anonymity, urged filling stations in the area to prioritise safety and the welfare of residents.

She noted that filling stations typically had insurance against fire and other disasters and suggested extending such coverage to vulnerable buildings in their host communities.

Recalling the chaotic events, she said that she heard the sound of an emergency whistle to alert the neighbourhood before hastily evacuating her home.

“I was watching TV and when the incident occurred, I had to blow the emergency whistle to alert the neighbourhood but I quickly dressed up before running out of the house,” she said. 

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Overspeeding Claims 7 Lives In Ibadan- Iseyin Road Crash- FRSC

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Overspeeding Claims 7 Lives In Ibadan- Iseyin Road Crash- FRSC

…As 15 people sustain varying degrees of injuries

Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has confirmed the death of seven persons in a road accident that occurred on Ibadan-Iseyin road on Thursday.

The Public Relations Officer, FRSC, Oyo Sector Command, Mr Mayowa Odewo, said in a statement that the deceased were five male adults, one female adult and one female child.

Odewo said that 15 people also sustained varying degrees of injuries out of the 22 people involved in the crash.

He attributed the accident, involving a Nissan Urvan commercial bus, with registration number: SEY 254 ZY and a Mazda commercial bus, with registration number LGB 343 XA, to speed violations and fatigue.

Odewo stated that the 13 injured victims, including three male adults, nine female adults and one female child, had been taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention.

He said that four of the seven corpses of the victims had been claimed by their families, while the remaining three had been deposited at a morgue.

“The police from Motor Traffic Division (MTD) Police Division, Moniya, Ibadan, have taken possession of the two crashed vehicles, including bags and other valuables recovered from the scene,” he said.

The FRSC spokesperson noted that no victim was saved by the seat belt or other defensive gadgets.

He urged motorists to always obey traffic rules and regulations as well as adhere to all traffic cautions on the road to prevent avoidable crashes. 

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Man Dies After Falling Off Cruise Ship in Australia

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Man Dies After Falling Off Cruise Ship in Australia

Australian police had found a man’s body off Sydney’s coast while searching for a cruise ship passenger who went overboard on Monday.
The man fell overboard before dawn near Sydney Heads, about 18 kilometers from the shore, with police and other emergency services launching a search, New South Wales police said.

At about 10.30 a.m. (0030 GMT), officers located the body and retrieved it, police said.

Police would now prepare a report for the Coroner and have launched an investigation into how the incident unfolded.

P&O Cruises’ ship Pacific Adventure was due to arrive in Sydney Harbour on Monday.

“We thank guests for their care, understanding, and patience on what’s been a distressing day for guests and crew,’’
a statement from the company said, as quoted by local media.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the guest at this difficult time.’’

The ship was returning to Sydney from a three-day trip to Queensland’s Morton Island.

– dpa

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