Nouadhibou Ship Graveyard: Mysterious Ship Graveyard of Mauritania’s Capital City

Nouadhibou Ship Graveyard: The capital city of Mauritania, a destitute nation in northwest Africa, is Nouadhibou. The city, which gets its name from the Nouadhibou peninsula where it is located, is a major center for trade and commerce.

However, the port city has acquired the unsavory distinction of being home to one of the biggest ship graveyards in the world in addition to its great reputation.

Nouadhibou: A City

The history of the city dates back to the French colonial era, when they occupied the nation. The colonists were particularly drawn to it because of its geographic suitability and ease of access by sea, and they not only grew it to flourishing proportions but also gave it the name “Port Etienne.”

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Following Mauritania’s 1960 independence from France, the port city was renamed to reflect its current titular reference.

Although Mauritania’s economy was destroyed after gaining independence from France, Nouadhibou has managed to sustainably contribute to the nation’s economy because the majority of its export activities are routed through its water gateways.

Nouadhibou Ship Graveyard: Developments

Nouadhibou Ship Graveyard
(Credit: Slate)

According to several historical documents, the port city turned into a ship graveyard in the latter half of the 20th century. However, the concept of exploiting the peninsula as a ship cemetery dates back to the 1920s, when France was the country’s primary colonizer, and it reached a significant high in the 1980s.

The bureaucracy and maritime authorities forced ship owners to abandon their deteriorating vessels in the waters surrounding the peninsula in the 1980s as a result of the country’s economic collapse.

Over the three decades that the site has been used as a ship cemetery, the precise number of these abandoned Nouadhibou ships has fluctuated significantly.

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Financial Issues and Salvaging Activities

The two main exports from Nouadhibou are iron ore and seafood. Thus, the abandoned ships that are floating in the peninsular waters offer useful iron components that will expand the city’s export business.

Likewise, the water inlets between the floating boats have developed into spawning grounds for many species of fish.

The local populace can find work as a result of these two factors. The villagers view the Nouadhibou ships as essential to their ability to produce much-needed money and income, which is another effect of these circumstances.

Nonetheless, the Mauritanian government has taken several actions to guarantee that the ships are disassembled properly after giving careful thought to the negative effects that the largest ship graveyard would have on the maritime ecosystem as a whole.

Marine salvage companies are scheduled to start their clean-up activities even though the abandoned ships are a source of jobs and income.

Such cleanup efforts might increase the port city’s worthwhile also reducing some of the severe financial issues that are afflicting Nouadhibou’s and Mauritania’s poorest regions.

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