Lagos residents lament frequent boat mishaps
Following Monday’s boat mishap that claimed one life in Ikorodu Lagos, residents have called for more safety measures on water transportation.
An Ikorodu resident, Babajide Olakunmi, said although 16 people were rescued from the accident, it is becoming too frequent and may rubbish government’s effort to encourage water transportation.
Another resident, Ademola Ojo, said he has stopped taking the ferry service to work in Lagos Island even though it was shorter and more conducive.
According to him, he has to spend hours in traffic to get to work because of the frequent mishaps and the danger they pose to safety. Findings by The Guardian showed eight boat mishaps occured between 2020 and 2021 in Lagos.
These were as a result of the inability of government’s agencies to enforce and ensure strict waterway laws. On July 4, 2020, a boat en route Ikorodu capsized, leaving five people dead. Two days after, July 6, 2020, another one happened in Ipakodo, claiming seven lives, while another 12 persons lost their lives in a boat accident that occurred in Kirikiri.
Also, on August 31, 2020, another one happened in Makoko, claiming two lives. Recall that Lagos Safety Commission had deployed 48 safety marshals to the waterways in 2020 to check compliance to safety rules. Despite their presence, boat accidents still occur.
Although eyewitnesses could not ascertain the exact number of passengers in the ill-fated boat on Monday, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), said 17 passengers were in the boat. The agency also confirmed that 16 of the passengers were rescued, while one was confirmed dead.
The Guardian learnt that the combined efforts and immediate mobilisation to the location of the accident by NIWA’s Search and Rescue Team, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Marine Police, Fishermen and other boat operators led to the successful rescued of the16 passengers.
Confirming the incident, NIWA and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said the rescue had been taken care of by the relevant agencies.
NIWA, in a statement by the Lagos Area Manager, Sarat Braimah, an engineer, said that the boat departed CMS Ferry Terminal at 1635hrs and was heading to Ikorodu Ferry Terminal when it was involved in the accident about 15 minutes later.
Braimah said: “A 17 passenger boat named ‘TEMI 3 Global’, which departed CMS Ferry Terminal at 1635hrs in route Ikorodu Ferry Terminal on September 27, 2021 was involved in an accident.
“Fifteen minutes into the journey near Adekunle Waterfront, the boat hit an underwater obstacle which broke the hull of the boat and it capsized.
“NIWA search and rescue team, Marine Police, Fishermen and other boat operators immediately mobilized to the location, leading to the rescue of 16 persons alive, while one person died on the way to the hospital.
“We sincerely condole with the family of the deceased and pray for the repose of the soul of the dead.”
NEMA spokesperson, Ibrahim Farinloye confirmed that the boat hit a rock, while sailing close to the edge of the waterway before it capzised.