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Circumstance of diver’s drowning in Delta raises suspicions

File Photo: OnepageAfrica Achieve
The Delta State Chairman for National Association of Professional Divers
(NAPROD), Mr Anthony Eferegor has drowned in circumstances that demand proper

A NAPROD member who spoke on conditions of anonymity said they were
disturbed, because members were yet to fully understand the actual
condition surrounding the death, except that Anthony Eferegor died in
mysterious circumstances, alongside a cook, who was also on board. 

“Nobody is telling us anything. If he died through an accident as
alleged, we expect the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency
(NIMASA) to investigate, as the custodian of the nation’s conscience and
Safety; and to tell us something. But this has not happened!”, he said,
stressing that the news of the death which occurred on March 6th was never
announced until on the 9th. 
Investigation by the NOMMA indicated that Eferegor died alongside a cook
on board a Self Elevated Workover Platform (SEWOP) popularly known as Jack up
barge when the vessel allegedly capsized en route Bonny from Warri on March 6.
It was further gathered that the vessel actually sailed with 30 persons
on board and was given the permission to sail, in spite of a meteorological
forecast that warned of a looming bad weather.
Divers who spoke to NOMMA on the
ground of anonymity said they suspected foulplay and their fears had been
exacerbated by the silence of critical regulatory agencies like NIMASA and the
Ministry of Mining which responsibility should otherwise centre on the
protection of the interest of indigenous divers.
diving professionals also queried the use of the Maritime Labour department as
well as the Cabotage department if the well-being of seafarers on board vessels
is not prioritised.
document accessed by NOMMA showed that Shell Nigeria had conducted a
preliminary investigation which results failed to hit the nail on the head;
aside from providing haphazard and skeletal, shoddy information instead of the
critical details, like on whose authority the vessel sailed, against
meteorological warnings.
also was shocked that even more than seven weeks after the accident, no
detailed report has been issued as business activities have gone on as normal.
No mention was also made of the Cook, as if he wasn’t a human being. 
still, by Eferogor’s death, Industry operators are worried that if nothing is
done, the fate of his poor widow and under-five year old daughter may be worse
than a dead dog.
instance, while preliminary report refers to bad weather as the cause of the
accident, a colleague of Eferegor at the association level who also spoke on
ground that his identity be withheld wondered how the sad event was anchored on
negligence, without a mention of how the negligence came.
insisted that aside from Eferogor being an expert who could navigate through
familiar waters like that of Warri, it was important the authorities came clean
on who permitted the vessel to sail in spite of the bad weather forecast.
went on to allege that the decision to sail amidst bad weather shows the slave
-drive culture under which crew members on board vessels are compelled to work,
even against international regulations and standards, while Nigerian agencies
look away.
maintained that with the criminal silence of supervising agencies, seafarers
are left to whatever choices foreign oil and gas firms come up with.

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