Nouadhibou – a port city on the west coast of Africa, the bank which represents the present and the world’s largest graveyard of ships, which knows, apparently not too many people. Mexican photographer Ian Smith, almost a hero, in 2008 was forced to overcome many obstacles to capture the beauty of this truly sad, so carefully concealed by the Government of Mauritania because of their own machinations.
Here, “released in circulation, but the insured vehicles, illegally trafficked and economically profitable shipping companies in the scrap from all over the world. According to Yang, he was stopped at the border, slept in a minefield and was accused of espionage before managed to get in Nouadhibou. Nobody believed that the photographer came to just shoot the decaying ships. Despite these images as clear evidence of blatant corruption of power, Yang argues that is not intended documentary photography and his work just wanted to show the forgotten beauty.
Nouadhibou is the second largest city in Mauritania and serves as the country’s commercial center.
It is situated on a 40-mile peninsula or headland called Ras Nouadhibou, Cap Blanc, or Cabo Blanco, of which the western side, with the city of Lagouira, is part of Western Sahara. Nouadhibou is less than a mile from the border.
The city is divided into four major areas: the city centre, including the airport, Numerowatt to the north, the main residential area, Cansado to the south, a dormitory town for Port Minéralier, in the far south, from which iron ore mined in Zouerat is exported.
Attractions in Nouadibou include the Table Remarquable, several markets, a ships’ graveyard and Mediterranean monk seals.
The port of Nouadhibou is the final resting place of over 300 ships and hencce the world’s largest ship graveyard. Unlike the en masse arrival of ships at Mallows Bay, here the number of craft has built up over time, as corrupt officials accepted bribes from boat owners to allow them to dump their vessels in the area
The major economic activity is fishing; however, the largest industry is processing iron ore transported by train from the interior mining towns of Zouérat and Fdérik. These freight trains can be as much as 3 km long, reputedly the longest in the world. The railway also carries passengers and calls at Choum.
On June 30, 1973 an aerobee rocket was launched there for solar research at the second-longest solar eclipse in 20th century
From February 2006 onwards Nouadhibou has become the departure point for African migrants trying to reach the Canary Islands. This extremely dangerous route to reach the European Union has become popular as a result of stepped up emigration controls along the Moroccan coast and around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in the second half of 2005.
The city is reputedly also a center of trading of meteorites found in the Sahara.