Ten people have drowned as a passenger boat capsized on Sunday, July 29th at Abonema Wharf Bakana Creek in Degema local government area of Rivers State.

It was gathered that the boat capsized as a result of overloading, even as it turned out that the operators of the boat were illegal, and they failed to comply with safety standards.

It was further gathered from a reliable source that the victims were travelling to Bakana for a burial ceremony.

According to the source, 25 passengers were on board the boat when it ran into trouble while at sea; 15 persons were rescued while 10 persons were still unaccounted for.

Taribo Benson, the Chairman of the Abonema Wharf Community Development Committee, said the incident occurred due to possible overloading of passengers as drivers usually undermine safety rules.

Tony Filmore, Chairman of Degema local government area confirmed the report of the mishap to Bounce News, saying that he had ordered an immediate investigation into the incident and commiserated with families of the victims of the boat mishap.

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He said: “From Abonema Wharf you get a boat to Bakana. There was a young boy whose burial was billed at Bakana,

"The dead alongside the survivors boarded the boat and in the course of the journey, the boat capsized. They were over 25 passengers and they have only seen 15 persons who are alive, the rest are feared to have drowned”.

He advised the marine police to arrest the boat driver for questioning saying: ”as a marine operator you must equip your boat, avoid overloading. Those are the things the marine police are supposed to be checking.

“Every boat, after inspection, they know the number of passengers it can carry and every passenger must be on life jacket so that if it happens like that, you will  not be struggling to save yourself before rescue will come.

"But if there is no life jacket so whether you know how to swim or not, it would be difficult.

''I don’t know what the Marine Police is doing whether the driver has been arrested. Normally when it happens like that the driver of the boat will be arrested,'' he added.

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