By DAPO OLAWUNI
Tragedy struck at the PTOL Port Terminal in Port Harcourt on Monday at the early hours of 02:30hrs when a truck driver with loaded soya beans meal for export, suddenly plunged into the waters at berth.
Eye witnesses confirmed to DAILY TREND that up until Wednesday morning, the truck is yet to be rescued.
The said truck driver whose identity is yet to be known, loaded cargo from the terminal warehouse shade number 3, to convey to berth number 4 for export loading.
Eye witnesses confirmed that the driver raced straight into the water through the available space between the stern lines and the aft part of the export vessel: MV AGIOS PORFYRIOS husbanded by OCEAN GLORY.
A source said “The lack of safety personnel and equipments on ground and the inability of the NPA, NIMASA & NSC to really carry out their regulatory functional lead to another loss of life.
“The the search party: a group of divers commissioned by PTOL Terminal commensed work at about 12: 00hrs about 10-11 hours after the accident. The truck was located but the first attempts to remove the truck failed and so the Monday rescue operations ended.
“On Teusday morning, the divers resumed work to bring the truck out, the vessel sailed then the dead body of the driver was found afloat. Other matter that ensue became history” the source said
Also confirming the incident to DAILY TREND, Public Relations Officer of Shipping Trade Practitioners Association of Nigeria (STPAON) Dr Babalola Olatunde said that the incident marks the third sad incident occuring at same berth number 4.
“First was a small tug boat MT Enoh that sunk, killing the Engineer onboard, second was a dock labour that fell into the water and die, while this latest accident on Monday is indeed the third one.
Dr Babatunde said that the soya beans meal which sunk on Monday has remained under the water, and it posses a danger to vessels because the bags can also faul vessel’s propeller.
Continuing, he said “The NPA, NIMASA and NSC must wake up to their responsibilities not only focusing on revenue generation and the so called anti-corruption onesided campaign by political jobbers and their collaborators, thereby neglecting safety and wellness of persons without which other operations and desired results would not be attained and sustained.
“Government and the new marine and blue economy ministry have a lot to do in order to better the minister, workers and the general public” he said