NIWA entrusts boat operators with security measures | The Guardian Nigerian News

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The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has urged boat operators and ferry service providers to comply with safety rules and regulations to prevent accidents.

Ms. Elsie Egwuatu, NIWA Head of Maritime Operations, delivered the appeal at the Nigerian Waterfront Association of Shippers and Vessel Owners (WABOTAN) training on Saturday in Lagos.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 120 boat operators and ferry service providers have received training and certificates on inland waterway safety.

Egwuatu said that compliance with safety rules and regulations will ensure the safety of all concerned in the waterways.

“If we don’t train them, let’s not blame them because if they don’t know what’s expected of them, there’s no way they can comply with waterway safety rules and regulations.

“WABOTAN has just joined and I have to say they are on their way, their efforts to impact society are commendable.

“NIWA always wants to keep waterways accident-free, we stand ready to collaborate with any person or association that remains in these efforts, as safety is everyone’s business, regulators, operators and passengers alike,” he said.

Egwuatu advised other associations to come up with initiatives that have an impact on society, noting that most of the accidents that occur in our waterways are caused by human error.

“If we can catch the operators so they know what is expected of them on the waterways, we can achieve the safety we clamor for,” he said.

In addition, Mr. Patrick Ike, Deputy Director, District Surveyor, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said the program was supposed to address some major mishap problems on the country’s waterways.

“Unfortunately, when those of us who are supposed to come to instruct the operators to imbue themselves with the safety culture are called, we do not pay attention, at the end of the day, we blame some of these mishaps on negligence, incompetence.

“We who have the key and we assume that we have to do something about it, we are not doing it, what do we expect, the mishap rate will still continue.

“I commend WABOTAN for organizing this and urge them not to give in, they should include all agencies and stakeholders the next time they organize training to ensure waterway safety,” he said.

Mr. Damilola Emmanuel, General Manager of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), said that they are happy to support any initiative that brings about the development of inland waterways.

According to Emmanuel, the training will help prevent potential waterway mishap incidents and equip operators with the necessary skills and knowledge.

“When WABOTAN was starting out, I told them to make sure they put their money where their mouth is, make sure they do everything they said they would do.

“It makes me very happy that not even two months have passed and they are doing this initiative,” he said.

He noted that, for its part, LASWA had partnered with Yamaha to train boat operators.

“We have the emergency and control room, we also go to the docks and we make sure that we carry out different awareness programs for them instead of calling them to train them,” he said.

Mr. Ngozi Njoku, Commander of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Fire Service, noted that the desire to do things right and in a professional manner should be a concern for all training participants.

“Improve every day, everything you learn today must be practiced so that it becomes an integral part of your operating system,” said Njoku.

In addition, Mr. Sunday Avoseh, president of the seamen’s branch of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), noted that there was nothing as dangerous as working with an untrained worker, and applauded the association for the training.

“In order for our waterways to be safe, all stakeholders must participate in this training, as this will ensure that boat owners have peace of mind and that workers and passengers are also safe on the waterway.

“We all witness what happens in our waterways, accidents, and so curbing this is what we are doing today with this training,” he said.

WABOTAN President Comrade Tope Fajemirokun said the exercise was necessary due to the usual rush of hot months on water transport and the mishaps that come with it.

“We are in the hot months now, and it is believed in some quarters that accidents generally increase in December, but we are not praying for that to happen.

“So, we want to create security awareness for our members and put them on high alert,” he said.

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