Boat Mishaps: FG, Lagos charge boat operators on adherence to safety codes

Lagos boat mishap,

By Temitope Adebayo

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) have urged boat operators and ferry service providers to adhere strictly to inland waterways safety codes.

This was disclosed, over the weekend, at the training of over 120 boat operators and skippers by the Waterfront Boat Owners and Transporters Association of Nigeria (WABOTAN), in Lagos.

Speaking, the Lagos Area Manager, NIWA, Sarat Buraimah, said, adherence to safety rules and regulations would ensure safe and navigable inland waterways for all.

Buraimah, who was represented by the NIWA head of Marine Operation, Engr. Elsie Egwuatu, advised other associations to bring up initiatives that would impact society, noting that, most of the accidents that happen on the nation’s waterways are mostly human errors.

“If we don’t train them, don’t blame them because if they don’t know what is expected of them, there is no way they can adhere to the safety rules and regulations on the waterways.

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“WABOTAN just came on board and I must say that they hit the ground running, their efforts to impact society are commendable. NIWA is always desirous of keeping the waterways accident free, we are ready to collaborate with anybody or association that is keeping into this endeavours as safety is everybody’s business both regulators, operators, and the passengers,” she said.

“If we can catch operators for them to know what is expected of them on the waterways, we will be able to achieve the safety we are clamouring for,” she said.

Also speaking, the assistant director, District Surveyor Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Ike, said, the programme was supposed to address some greater problems of mishaps on the country’s waterways.

“Unfortunately, when we that are supposed to come and enlighten the operators to imbibe the safety culture in them are called we don’t attend, at the end of the day, we blame some of these mishaps on negligence, incompetence.

“We that have the key and suppose to do something about this are not doing so, what do we expect, the rate of the mishap will still continue.

“I give WABOTAN kudos for organising this and charge them not to relent, they should include all agencies and stakeholders the next time they are hosting the training to ensure safety on the waterways,” he said.

On his part, the general manager of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Damilola Emmanuel, said, the agency was happy to support any initiatives that would bring the development of inland waterways.

According to Emmanuel, the training will help prevent the possible incident of mishap on the waterways and equip the operators with the skills and necessary knowledge needed.

“When WABOTAN was starting operation, I told them that they need to ensure that they put their money where their mouth is, ensure that they do all they have said they will do.

“It gives me great joy that it has not been up to two months and they are doing this initiative,” he said.

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