NIWA to appoint beach masters in enforcing boats' operational time

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) says plans are underway to ensure that boat operators comply with stipulated operational hours nationwide.

Mr Mu’asu Sambo, the Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, disclosed this in an interview in Lagos.

He said the measure would ensure a pro-active approach in its risk assessment put in place to ensure safety of passengers travelling by water.

 “You know as a matter of law in Lagos, water crafts carrying passengers are not supposed to ply the waterways from 7pm.

“Now, what we do is that we ensure that this regulation is complied with by making sure that all jetties are shut down at 7 pm.

“Now, what we are in the process of doing, we have not concluded, because it is a tremendous task which has just started not long ago, is, in collaboration with the association of tourist boat operators and water transporters of Nigeria, that is AGBOATON, we have nominated people from their association for each jetty, there will be designated beach masters.

“They will be given some merchant Navy training after which they will be deployed to each jetty.

“One of their primary responsibilities will be to ensure the compliance of all regulations concerning water transportation including the one on banning transportation at night.”

Sambo said that contrary to other opinions, the operations of water transportation were guided by laws and regulations moderating the safety of people.

Some stakeholders had attributed the recent increase in the number of boat mishaps to night travel.

It would be recalled that one of such incidences which claimed the lives of two women was during a night travel.

The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) said investigations showed that besides travelling at night, some boat drivers mostly operate reckless.