Scrapping Of Wooden Boats: Merchant Navy Urges Govt To Assist Operators With New Boats

Few days after  the Lagos State Government announced plans to phase-out wooden boats from the state’s waterways, the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, has pleaded with the government to assist boat operators to acquire fibre boats that will meet the international standard.  The association made this appeal in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos.  Speaking on behalf of the embattled boat operators, Deputy Secretary of the association; Mr.  John Okpono, said in as much as it is in support of government’s decision, government should also know that the operators are human beings who depend on the wooden boats to feed their families. He also advised the government to organise a meeting that will involve the operators, stakeholders and the union executives to map out how the government can assist the operators. "In as much as we are in the change era, the government should also assist the operators to acquire fibre boats that will meet international standard" Mr. Okpono, maintained that the government should give grants to operators to enable them acquire standard boats.  "The government can assist by giving the operators grants, refundable loans, they can even assist by buying the boats and then give it out to operators to pay instalmentally so that they can still be in business"