Reports from various international news outlets have revealed that up to 166 people are dead following a boat accident in Nigeria.
According to Reuters, the wooden vessel left the small town of Oron on March 15, en route to Gabon via the Gulf of Guinea. Officials say they haven't yet determined what caused the watercraft to capsize 40 nautical miles from the shore, but they suspect the boat may have been overloaded.
"They are mostly Igbo traders who headed to Oron to board the wooden boat because it was cheaper," Ikechukwu Egwu, a marine transporter in the area, said when asked about the passengers aboard the vessel.
David Akate, head of Cross Rivers emergency services, told the source that there were only two survivors – a woman and a young boy who held onto a gas cylinder and were rescued by fishermen in the area.
Unfortunately, these kinds of maritime tragedies are not uncommon in Africa, where safety standards are known for not being up to par. In 2010, more than 100 people died when an overloaded boat capsized in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Just two years earlier, 35 passengers were killed after a watercraft sunk off the coast of Cameroon.
It's important for commercial and recreational boat owners to be aware of the risks they face when they bring their vessels out on the water and take any safety precautions they can to prevent these incidents from occurring. Additionally, it's a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality. One way you can do this is by working with a marine insurance agency that can help you find policies with the best rates and ensure that you are covered in the case of an accident.