Wednesday, April 13, 2011

✈Worldwide Wednesdays: The Ship Graveyard at the Bay of Nouadhibou, West Africa

Where shall we travel to today?....

The Ship Graveyard at the Bay of Nouadhibou, West Africa

The Ships graveyard of Nouadhibou is the largest ship graveyard in the world consisting of abandoned ships. 104 partly visible and 22 already sunken ships were counted in 2004.The ship's graveyard is located east of the Ras Nouadhibou peninsula, which is located at Nouadhibou (formerly Port-Étienne), second largest city of Mauritania (West Africa). The ships are thereby protected against the waves and currents of the open ocean. Most of the wrecks located in the southeast Cansado Bay of Nouadhibou, the other vessels are moored in the northeast of the town of Baie du Repos and cover almost two kilometers along the coast. At least until 2004 some crew members still lived in some of the ships on behalf of the shipowner, the valuable equipment that was still on the ships - guarding mostly radar and radio equipment.

 In 2004 an expedition from Oxford University numbered 104 ships, at least partially protruded above the water, and 22 vessels under the surface.The great majority of ships were built around 1955 to 1980 and were abandoned after 1984. Until 1979, Mauritania had not had its own fishing fleet, but licenses awarded to foreign fishermen. The ship's graveyard grew dramatically as the Mauritanian fisheries industry was nationalized and inexperienced fishermen who could not profit because of overfishing - or ships in poor condition were bought and later left in ruins. Mauritania's fishing fleet was generally in poor condition in spite of a repair service that opened in 1989 in Nouadhibou.   In 1992 only about 50% of the vessels were ready for use. - among fishing vessels there are also vessels from the Mauritanian navy in the ship graveyard in Nouadhibou.

In 1999, the Ministry of Fisheries Mauretianien tried to remove the wrecks: The French company ETR should scrap the ships and send them for the symbolic price of one franc per ton for recycling in Europe. The ETR went with his equipment to Nouadhibou, but the ship's owners protested and demanded compensation, after which announced ETR - out of fear of court actions - ending the contract .

As the ship constituted an environmental hazard (mainly through loss of oil) and is a hindrance to maritime traffic in the shallow channels drive to the port, the European Union put two million euros for the removal of wrecks ready (2004). The wrecks should then begin to be dragged into the middle of the nearby Baie du Lévrier, which is deep enough, so no problems for navigation will occur, and in addition, trawling is prohibited. There the wrecks should create a new habitat to increase the fish population.

The plans were subsequently amended, 2006, the European Commission provides EUR 26.2 million to achieve an "improved navigability, compliance with safety standards in the Bay of Nouadhibou, the environment and strengthening the administrative capacity".  There are 55  wrecks that will be towed to a storage location further north in the bay.  The 55 wrecks, the pollutants to be disposed of prior to storage, are partly below the water surface and / or no longer float. The tender for the project ran until 7 May 2007.

Source:   MFS-StrangeButTrue/Places

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