A total of 29 people have been rescued alive from the boat mishap near Malabo, 40 nautical miles from Calabar, Cross River State, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, said on Thursday.
The spokesperson of the agency, Yushau Shuaib, who confirmed the rescue, also said the nine bodies recovered so far have been deposited in the morgue at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital.
Two of the survivors had been rescued on Tuesday evening.
Mr. Shuaib said the 27 additional survivors were saved through the combined rescue efforts by NEMA, Cross River Emergency Management Agency, CRSEMA, Nigerian Maritime Agency for Security and Administration, NIMASA, Addax Petroleum Nigeria Limited, and local fishermen in the area.
According to Mr. Shuaib, the correct number of passengers in the wooden boat at the time of the accident was 128 and not 166 as widely reported since news of the mishap broke out.
The boat, he said, began its journey on the night of Friday, March 15, 2013 at Dahomey, Benin Republic, heading towards Gabon. He said the boat capsized at about 9 p.m. shortly after a stopover at the beach in Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
One of the rescued survivors, Kive Sani, is reported to have said that the vessel was conveying illegal migrants from Oron, including women, children and citizens of Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Senegal and some Igbo traders from the South Eastern part of Nigeria, travelling to Gabon.