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Scores of shipwrecks in Lagos’ waterways

Scores of shipwrecks in Lagos’ waterways, coastal waters and on the shores of its beaches have turned parts of the sprawling metropolis’ shoreline into a marine cemetery. But on closer inspection, some of the wrecks are a working storage facility for stolen or “bunkered” oil, as it is known in Nigeria.
They act as stores for illegally imported oil brought into the port by the huge tankers delivering petrol and gas, then sold on in neighbouring Benin and Togo.
“Every ship does it. They will declare 10 tonnes but bring in 12,” said one of the smugglers. “We will store them in the tanks, deep inside the wrecks, then at night usually, it will be picked up.”
Middle men could typically make at least ₦29,000 to ₦72,000 a trip for several years. “It’s big business,” he said.
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Photo credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP

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