• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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NIWA opens talks with UK, Swiss firms to remove wrecks on waterways

NIWA promises to protect investments on waterfront with approvals

Determined to ease vessels and boat navigation on the nation’s inland waterways, the National Inland Waterways Authority ( NIWA) said it has begin discussions with some United Kingdom (UK) and Swiss Marine firms to remove wrecks littered on the inland waters.

George Moghalu, managing director of NIWA, who disclosed this in Lagos during a stakeholders’ meeting with boat operators organised by the Authority’s Lagos Area Office, said the firms when engaged, will remove the wrecks for other purposes and pay the Federal Government in return.

According to him, NIWA is determined to make Nigerian inland waters navigable for 24/7 in order to promote safety and encourage water transportation.

He said the authority will not leave any stone unturned in tightening the safety regulatory procedure on passenger boats in order to curb accident on inland waters, adding that over five avoidable boat mishaps happened in the last one month across the nation.

“We are going to enforce all safety regulations for operations on the waterways. We are going to recertify all boats and retrain all boat captains. NIWA would also impound all boats that aren’t worthy to be on the waterways,” Moghalu said.

Moghalu, who described life lost on waters as huge loss to the nation, said that operators must adhere to speed limit rule because the authority would commence rigorous patrol on the waterways.

Stating that the buy in of stakeholders including boat operators, jetty owners and was pertinent in enforcing safety regulations, he said that most of the boats in the country aren’t designed for night operation but stubborn operators have continued to flout this rule.

“Most of these accidents happen at night and the takeoff was not from NIWA jetties. This shows that compliance isn’t in doubt at NIWA jetties for certified operators. Our random checks would also include visit to boat yards,” he said.

He however pointed out that the authority would also streamline the use of lifejacket in terms of quality and colour.

Given insight into things operators would see going forward, Joseph Ororo, general manager, Marine Department of NIWA, said it would no longer be business as usual for operators because the accidents have become too many.

According to him, NIWA has not only listed the responsibilities of both operators and passengers, but will also insist that operators balance the boat and ensure that the boat is not overloaded.

He said there would be more safety awareness campaign to teach operators and passengers on the practical ways of averting mishap.

“We are going to train and certify operators going forward. We are presently fine tuning the course content before commencing the training while re-fresher courses would be organised for already trained operators in order to revalidate their certifications,” he said.

Ororo also stated that safety talks would be given to passengers on NIWA jetties before boats would be allowed to takeoff.