…All vessels to be re-certified

Infinity Tyres

The Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu has stated that most of the accidents on Nigeria waterways are as a result of the breach of protocols by boat operators.

Moghalu made this remark yesterday at a stakeholders’ meeting between the management of NIWA and relevant stakeholders like commercial boat operators, private boat operators, dredgers, private jet operators, maritime workers, fishers association, maritime companies, sand diggers etc.

The NIWA MD used the meeting which held at the NIWA yard in Marina, Lagos, to emphasise that the agency is geared towards enforcing strict guidelines for water transportation to ensure safety.

He stated that he is worried about “midstream transfer of passengers, that is not permissible, over speeding, overloading in the middle of the water, you see them trying to refill their tanks. The use of live jackets must be obeyed, Speed limits must be observed, there will be random checks, we are going to prosecute the operators who are found wanting.”

The MD reiterated that there is a ban on night travels as all jetties must close between 6.30 pm and 6 am. “I have already given directives stopping night dredging”, added.

On training and re-training for both captain and crew members, Moghalu added that “we have started already in a facility in Warri for re-training and re-certification.”

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Moghalu also revealed that plans are underway to tag emergency numbers on all boats that would be re-certified as well as in all jetties.

A private boat owner, Atinuke Oyenuga- urged NIWA to look into the issue of double taxation on stakeholders and tasked the agency to do more in clearing of wreckages on the waterways.

The President of the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria, Edeme Kelikume, as well as other stakeholders, made useful contributions.

In a related development, the legal team of NIWA reiterated that with a 2017 Court of Appeal judgment, has reaffirmed its powers over control of all inland waterways in the country.