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NIMASA vows to go tough with uncertified boat skippers to curb mishap

Determined to reduce the rate of fatal boat mishaps on the nation’s inland waterways, Bashir Jamoh, director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has warned that the agency would be tough with untrained and uncertified boat skippers, who often ignore safety procedures and endanger the lives of passengers.

According to a statement by Philip Kyanet, head, Corporate Communications of NIMASA, Jamoh stated this in Lagos during a courtesy visit to the Agency by Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, general manager of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA).

He called for the development of cohesive safety enforcement guidelines and regulations for implementation across the littoral states.

He said the harmonisation of standards and procedures for safety in the territorial waters would go a long way in minimising unsafe practices by operators of non-conventional vessels, which are not subject to international standards, but rely mainly on national regulations.

“We have a number of boat skippers that are not trained, and not knowledgeable. They do not have certification but only know how to maneuver the boat. We will now start to check that. The issue is important, that is why I would start to take it more seriously,” he said

Jamoh said the Federal Ministry of Transportation was also in the process of building unified enforcement guidelines for safety in the nation’s waters, stressing that the synergy between NIMASA and the Lagos State Government would help to fast track the process.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that we monitor and supervise the staffs that are given the responsibility of enforcing the issue of safety at sea. Safety procedures, such as availability of adequate lifejackets, good condition of the boat, and time of use, must be verified by enforcement officers before a boat sets sail,” he said.

Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, LASWA General Manager promised to intensify information sharing between his agency and NIMASA as part of efforts to improve collaboration for maritime safety.

He also elaborated on the importance of uniform enforcement procedure in order to avoid overlapping of functions.

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