One of Abidjan’s amazing yet creepy ‘landmark’, or ‘watermark’, is undoubtedly the Cemetery of Boats. This graveyard of shipwrecked and abandoned boats and ships can be found floating ‘lifelessly’ on the Ébrié Lagoon, near the Atlantic Ocean. I came upon this sight while on a boat cruise from the port of Abidjan to Yopuguon – the only city suburb that spans both north and south sides of the Ébrié Lagoon. With my mouth open agape with wonder, my tour guide explained that shipwrecked boats from far and wide were dragged to this location some time ago. He however added that rumours have been flying around that the government would soon relocate the ships. “To where?”, I pressed further. “Not sure”, he responded.
Our cruise ship slowed to allow us catch a glimpse and take pictures of the eerie imagery at sunset; and a flock of birds were also seen perching on the floating parts of one of the ships. It seemed to be their resting place, in the evenings, after a long day in the skies.
I later learnt that this was not the only ship cemetery in the world. The largest is the massive Gadani ship-breaking yard near Karachi in Pakistan. While Abidjan’s shipyard is on water, Pakistan’s 10km long yard employs hundreds of workers to dismantle as many as 100 ships annually. The sheets, angles of metals, pipes and working machines are later on sold at the local market.
Have you been to Abidjan’s Cemetery of Boats? How did you feel? Feel free to share.