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Lagos boat mishap: NIWA blames boat captain for loading from shut containerised jetty

By Adaku Onyenucheya
14 July 2022   |   2:50 am
Lagos Area Manager, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Sarat Braimoh, yesterday, said investigations on the recent boat mishap that claimed the lives of 17 people, revealed that the boat loaded

Mazamaza jetty

Lagos Area Manager, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA),  Sarat Braimoh, yesterday, said investigations on the recent boat mishap that claimed the lives of 17 people, revealed that the boat loaded at containerised jetty that was shut down last year June.

   
Braimoh,  who spoke to newsmen during a tour of the area said the jetty was supposed to be loading containers but was shut down because it was not certified for container operations.
    
She said the NIWA and the joint committee on barge operations made up of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), closed down the jetty and stationed police officers there to prevent operations.
  
“We have been monitoring them and they are not operating. When I heard about the incident, I called the owner of the jetty to ask about the boat loaded from his jetty and he said he was not aware. Those people went there illegally.
 

“A staff member of the jetty owner, who is an eyewitness, questioned them when they were loading. They claimed they were waiting for a boat to take them to the recently concluded festivity.
  
“He said the boat could not take more than 10 passengers and there were 17 people on the boat, including the captain. The boat went under the barge and the weather also contributed. The weather was bad and boat operators and passengers should not ply at night because of the wave. Our jetties open by 6:00 a.m. and close by 7:00 p.m.,” she explained.
 
Speaking during a condolence visit to the Ibeshe community, where the victims of the boat accidents reside,  Braimoh, who was represented by NIWA’s Head of Marine, Elsie Egwuatu, charged boat operators and passengers to be safety conscious as there is climate change and the water level, as well as the waves, are always high at nights.
  
“Boat operators must keep to safety rules and regulations, such as no night travelling, no overloading. On the part of the passengers, they should ensure that the operators keep to safety rules and regulations. When they board boats they should demand life jackets and that the captain of the boat does not carry beyond its capacity and not travel at night.
 
   
“The incidents have happened and what we are doing is to ensure that there is no recurrence to make water transport a safe mode of transportation,” she said.

MEANWHILE, the  Ovori of Ibeshe, Oba Alani Gausu, has identified human errors and negligence to regulations as causes of boat accidents on Lagos waters.
  
According to him, most boat operators on Lagos waterways do not have formal training and orientation in handling boats; neither are there rules on standards for boat operations.
   
The traditional ruler noted that the operators do not have knowledge of operating boats, adding that some of them are underage and are addicted to drugs as well as use inferior boats with big engines, thereby leading to accidents on the waterways.

  
The traditional ruler said the captain of the boat overloaded the boat.

“The boat captain did not check the level of fuel and oil in the boat engine. It was after pushing the boat to the water that he realised he needed to mix the oil and fuel in the engine of the boat,” he narrated.
  
The traditional ruler narrated that a situation where a boat ferried 10 passengers along with several gallons of petroleum products from the Ijegun area to Ibeshe, was a recipe for disaster.
  
He said there is a need for NIWA, LASWA, LAGFERRY, Boat operators association, Lagos State government and other stakeholders to come together and address the issue of boat accidents in riverine areas since human lives are involved.

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