Operators Decry Ban Of The Use Of 200HP Boat Engines By NIMASA

The Association of Boats and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWTON)  has decried the ban of the use of  200 horse power (HP) engines for boat transportation on the waterways.Mr Tarzan Balogun, the president of the association, told newsmen in Lagos that the order was not in the interest of the operators.He said that there were certain areas on the waterways that only boats being powered by 200HP engines could chart.The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had recently announced the ban of the use of 200 HP boat engines by operators.Balogun said that the ban followed allegations that boats with that capacity were being used by armed robbers to escape through the waterways after their operations.He said that as a result of that NIMASA decided to ban the use of 200HP engines for boat operators.He added that NIMASA said that boat operators should go for those above 200HP engines that would be more powerful than the ones sea pirates were using.According to him, the ban is not the solution to fight sea piracy in the country.Balogun said that one of the solutions was to provide gun boats for security operatives on patrol of the waterways.He said NIMASA should re-strategise its operations in curbing the menace of criminals and smuggling on the sea.According to him, this directive would have negative effects on many citizens because it is faster to use such engines to travel to interior parts of the coastal communities in the country.Balogun also said that this would affect operators plying some riverine communities, and called on NIMASS to review its stand on it.“It is costlier to maintain boat engines using horse powers that are above 200HP.“Many operators will be out of business due to the ban as they may not be able to afford the prices of engine boats whose capacities are more than 200HP,’’ he said.Balogun urged the Federal Government to build filling stations along the coastal areas to ease the stress of operators buying petrol at filling stations far from their routes.