Skip to main content

Ship wreck dismantling in Ilashe

guys, let's get it done while the tide is low
guys, let's get it done while the tide is low
Low tide is a blessing in Ilashe. Waves are much less powerful than during high tide making bathing very pleasant for those who want take a dip in the warm water. The sea also uncovers some surprises. The seashore is punctuated by abandoned ship wrecks. Some of them appear only at low tide, covered by algae. This means money opportunity for local communities who engage in dismantling those remains.
Andrew Anetor is leading a team of young athletic boys, about 7 of them, to break those metallic structures into pieces that are small enough to be carried at the back of his pick-up. He was raised in the UK and lived in a few countries abroad before coming back to Nigeria. He resides in Tarkwa Bay and scrap metal collection for recycling has become his bread-earner.
Andrew Anetor and the dismantlers
Andrew Anetor and the dismantlers
Very short white hairs are perceptible on this face. He probably shaved a few days ago. His face is weathered and he probably got severely burnt on one side of his body where his skin looks regrown. He must be one of the leaders (Baba) of Tarkwa Bay because he owns a rather run-down pink-faded pick-up which is an essential tool to transport pieces of scrap metal from the shore to the recycling facilities owned by either Chinese or Indian people. The pick-up looks likely to breakdown anytime but his driver must have developed a particularly intimate knowledge of the mechanics to be able to bring it back to work whenever it breaks down. A tailored pampering regime in other words. But it is well worth it since the pick-up is heavy duty and adapted to driving in the sand with a full load.
We saw the vehicle coming from far with two men standing at the back, dressed in dark colours. At first sight, the shape of the pick-up, the sand, the seaside and the figures of the two men was a chilling view as they could have been smugglers, kidnappers of the kind plying the Sahara desert. But that was just a momentary illusion!
pick-up for scrap collection cooling down
pick-up for scrap collection cooling down
As a matter of fact, the boys are solidly built to be able to carry out the heavy duty work which earns them a living.
Andrew explained that a ton of scrap metal is worth sixty thousand naira (between 150 and 200 dollars) and that he is usually able to collect two tons a day. He pays his boys two thousand naira a day, a very decent salary for those boys who would otherwise be probably without a proper job or keeping themselves busy with less commendable jobs.

cutting torch in action
cutting torch in action
Strength and agility are key skills to be able to break the wreck structure into pieces. The team uses a hoisting mechanism with a heavy chain and two hooks that they adjust on protruding parts of the wreck and then manually tighten the chain to break down the rusted structure into smaller pieces, that can then be dragged back to the sand. There, a man, with a Superman hat, uses a cutting torch to further cut the metal into smaller pieces that can be loaded at the back of the pick-up.
Anyone looking for a beach job?


Popular posts from this blog

The Ogiamien family in Benin City: about wood and history

Roland Ogiamien is a renown wood carver. He is now retired in his home town of Benin City and is now in his 80s. We met him in his simple workshop, a barn opened on the surrounding greenery. A part of the studio is used to store wood pieces and make sure they are well dried. He is using a collection of german ustensils to carve and polish the wood. He spent most of his career working out of Lagos before relocating to Benin.
Roland was explaining that the wood he uses today is different from his early days. Ebony has become rare and wood carvers have had to switch to other types of wood. Traditional heritage is a large part of his inspiration which he translates on wood with his own particular style, exploring various techniques for the finish of his pieces.
Ogiamien is the name of an important royal family in Benin Kingdom. Towards the end of the Ogiso dynasty (12th century), Ogiso Owodo did not have a son to succeed him, his brother Evian therefore took over after Owodo&#…

the fish market of Epe

Epe (pronounced Ekpe in yoruba) is a small city located on the narrow stretch of water that separates the lagoon of Lagos from the one, further in the east, known as Lekki lagoon. It is built on the small hills that border the water. It is connected by a bridge to the Lekki peninsula.
The town is famous for its fish market located on the water side. It is the place to buy fresh water fish, some of them still alive. They are kept in plastic buckets but also directly in the lagoon water in woven baskets.
Many more is for sale such as crayfish, crocodile, turtle, monitor lizard, big snails.  Game meat is also available coming from the nearby forest of the Omo reserve. We saw two wild cats with white spotted black fur and a strong scent; As we left we saw antilope legs arriving to the stall.
Some fishes are particular, one is sending electricity shocks when you touch it, another one was looking like a prehistoric fish with a sort of dinosaur like shell; there was also one with giant scal…

The mysterious stones images of Esie

Chief J. Agbo Ooye had been waiting in the shade of a large tree, in front of the National Museum of Esie, dressed in ceremonial costume with a velvet hat incrusted with crystal beads sown in the shape of his title and his name. He was sitting next to his wife on a bench, expecting our arrival. His wife, he would tell us later, was his best friend and she was actually demonstrating it by guiding his frail body from one place to another and guiding his hand when it came to sign autographs of his books. Chief Agbo Ooye is the author of two booklets on the Esie Stones. The first one, called A Personal Account of the Esie Stones is giving an overview of the differences between the scientific and the traditional interpretation of the Esie Stones. The second one is called the History of Esie and gives a brief account of Esie's history from the early settlement of Yorubas in various groups (Esie, Oro, Eku Apa, Igbonla, Edidi, Igbesi, etc...) to the present day. Those groups, who lived o…