A group; ‘Nigerian Marines And Sea Transport Union In Diaspora’ also known as NIMSID last week posited that the Nigerian Inland waterways Authority (NIWA) should be held responsible for the avoidable and frequent boat mishap across the country.
This was the view of the western zonal coordinator Capt DM Hills while addressing members of the executive of NIMSID.
The coordinator said since 2014 till date the number of boat mishap in the country had doubled and this is due to gross negligent on the part of NIWA to enforce common safety rules (standard). “Just this year alone the country has witnessed more avoidable deaths if only safety rules were enforced”, it lamented.
Recall that on May 24th 2018, 19 people were feared dead due to lack of safety checks by supervising authority, and just a week after, at least another five people were feared dead after a boat capsized in Lagos on Wednesday evening. Report has it that the boat was coming from CMS to Ikorodu, a journey that is less than an hour.
“We at NIMSID strongly believes that if the supervising authority is doing what they are pay to do, we would not be having this frequent boat mishap across the country, we are calling on the Lagos state government and the leadership of Niwa to enforce safety rules across all inland ports and jetties”, the group stated.
To stem the tide of boat mishaps, NIMSID advised that: “In the face of these frequent boat mishap, we expect NIWA to up their game, they should ban all unworthy boats that are unfit to sail, penalize boat managers who default in the areas of safety, weed out all incompetent and unqualified skipper, close down all illegal jetties and ban all forms of night voyages, until there are maritime facilities and infrastructure that support night voyage”.
It also advised that “the state of health of those skippers /boat pilots and their assistants should be checked from time-to- time to ascertain the level of alcoholic content or their state of mental alertness”, even as it appealed that “NIWA should place more navigational equipment like buoys, cone, lights etc on our water channels to aid navigational signals and enhance safety measures”.
The group also called for the creation of ‘sea guard or marine police’ should be created as well as a task to enforce strict compliance to safety rules in all jetties and harbours