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Boat drivers need operational compliance

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By Mercy Kelani

In ten years, 3,123 lives were lost in frequent boat accidents.

According to a recent report, the government’s collaboration has been called for by The Marine Crafts Builders Association of Nigeria (MCBAN) to implement operational compliance by boat drivers to evade continuous mishaps. MCBAN expressed gravely that 3,123 lives had been recorded as dead due to the boat mishaps in the last decade. This incident, therefore, calls for immediate intervention of the government to prevent future incidents. Mr. Clem Ifezue, the Director General of MCBAN, along with other officials expressed their unhappiness and declared their worries on boat mishaps.

Ifezue expressed his dissatisfaction in public on some reckless boat drivers who carelessly ignore operational instructions. He announced that the news of the boat accidents are getting more prevelent. According to the DG, the boat accidents in Nasarawa and Niger states have captured the people’s attention. This made Mr. President inquire about the cause and effect of the accident. Also, cases of accidents on the Waterways within the last decade has led to the death of 3,123 people on the water.

Government agencies should evaluate challenging issues.

The disheartening news should awaken the interest of the public. The consequences of the accidents affected the products of the marine craft builders. Thus, the Chairman said that the occurrence affects them more than the general public. The families that lost their loved ones to the accidents received condolences from the marine craft builders. The marine craft builders expressed their bewilderment and regret, stating that the accidents were due to wrong operational guidelines. He said that lack of maintenance of these crafts, night traveling, ignorance of safety measures, and overloading could be responsible for the boat accidents.

He stated that many factors can cause boats to capsize, such as not paying attention to the recommended engine to be used and bad boat handling. Also, misplacement of the engine — fixing a small engine to a big boat and vice versa — can cause boat accidents. Ifezue said that the use of tag would gauge the weight of the boat, recommend the required engines and also state the model of the boat. Significantly, government agencies should evaluate the issues, and duly condemn Overcrowding or overpopulation of passengers on a boat to avoid incessant accidents on the water.

NIWA and Police Marine should oversee water transportation.

Emphatically, Ifezue stated that close collaboration with government enforcers is highly required. In this aspect, the government officials include Police Marine Unit, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). These officials will carry out basic duties to ensure safety on boat transportation. Some of their duties are to stop and check boats on the water, interrogate boat drivers, ensure boat drivers and passengers wear life-jacket, and ensure proper sitting position of the passengers in the boat. Also, channeling the waterways with signs to indicate different points such as sharp bends, open waters, and reduction of speed.

Regulating movement of boats, big or small on the waterways is another function of government officers. Bigger boats are supposed to slow down for smaller boats when they meet. Ethics and traditional regulations on waterways provide understanding between boat drivers to slow down for each other. However, these ethics, which are taught to the boat drivers, are overruled by many. Prosecution and arrest of reckless boat drivers will be achieved by the support of federal government agencies, installing operational guidelines.

Most purchasers of boats are contractors and not end users.

Penalizing reckless boat drivers and also following up on them will curb any future water accidents. He added that there are different boats for different locations, according to the depth of the water — deep and shallow waters. He stated that another pressing issue is the purchase of boats. Many people that purchase boats are not the end users, but contractors who have no understanding of the features and characteristics of the transport system. With this, Ifezue said that interviews have been organized for people who are purchasing any type of boat.


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