• Monday, June 24, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

NIWA vows to strengthen safety regulatory guidelines, curb boat mishap

Anambra boat mishap: 13 bodies recovered, search continues

Worried by the high number of boat accidents on the nation’s waterways, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) said it will not leave any stone unturned in tightening the safety regulatory procedure on passenger boats in order to curb accident on 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 that over five avoidable boat mishaps happened in the last one month across the nation, showing that boat operators have failed to stick to the guidelines.

“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 the waterways 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 that there would be more safety awareness campaign to teach operators and passengers 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.