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Abandoned ships litter Nigeria coastline

Sunday Alamba / AP

The rusting hulk of an abandoned ship is beached on the coastline in Lagos, Nigeria. All photos taken March 15, 2012 and made available May 1, 2012.

The Associated Press reports — The powerful waves of the Atlantic Ocean crash against rusting hulks beached along the coastline just outside of Nigeria's largest city, as lines of cargo ships waiting to come to port stretch across the western horizon.

Government officials say they don't know how many abandoned ships choke Nigeria's waterways, but they cause tremendous environmental and navigational hazards. And as more wash ashore daily, the massive vessels cause fast-moving erosion along Nigeria's beaches that can tear away a kilometer of shoreline in a matter of days, experts say.

Some of the ships have been there for decades, others only days. Many, abandoned after the lucrative theft of crude oil, serve as hulking metaphors for the lawlessness that plagues Nigeria. Read the full story.

Previously on PhotoBlog: Extremes of wealth and poverty in the Nigerian oil industry

Sunday Alamba / AP

Last August, Nigeria's Transport Minister Yusuf Suleiman promised to remove the wrecks within weeks, but nothing was done.

Sunday Alamba / AP

A man climbs out of the wreckage of an abandoned ship. Groups of salvagers move along the coast, removing whatever electronics and communication gear remains inside.