• News - South West - Lagos
  • Updated: February 29, 2024

Lagos: Most boats on waterways not seaworthy — NIWA

Lagos: Most boats on waterways not seaworthy — NIWA

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has stated that 75% of the boats operating on Lagos waterways are not seaworthy.

The agency shared the information following recent boat mishaps on the state waterways, which have resulted in the deaths of some persons.

The Lagos State Area Manager, Sarat Braimah, while addressing reporters on Wednesday, said the boat accidents were mainly human errors, from boat operators to captains, jetty owners, and passengers.

She also noted that with the majority of the boats not in good condition, there’s a high chance of developing a fault in the middle of the waterways while ferrying passengers. 

Braimah, however, added that the agency had put in place some conditions for boat operators to meet or forget about the ferry business.

She said: “What NIWA wants to do now is to sanitise those boat operators. We cannot wait until accidents happen again. From the two major accidents that happened this year, we have been able to analyse our investigations, and we discovered that it was due to human errors. What I mean by human errors is down to the maintenance of the boats.

“Most times, boat engines will go off mid-stream because of the speed the boat captains need. They won’t get it on the channel. So, they will move out of the channel to go to the shallow area so that they can maintain speed.

“As I speak to you, our Marine Unit is in Ikorodu. I have embargoed boat movements in Ikorodu except for those certified.

“Yesterday, we certified 10 boats, and only those 10 boats will operate for now. For other boats, we have instructed the operators to bring them down to our office here in Marina. We are not even going to Ikorodu to do the inspection.

“Most of the boats have a single hull, and these single hull boats cannot withstand stress. Any single hit on the waterways, they will tumble.

“This is why some of them will hit a little pipe on the waterways and they will tumble. I have been inside a boat where we hit a wreck and the boat did not capsise because it had a double hull.

“Majorly, we have to scrap these boats. About 75 per cent of them are not seaworthy. The time they bought the boats, registered them, maintained them – even the maintenance has dropped – and their life span too has dropped.

“So, we want to know if it is 20 boats that are fit to operate from Ikorodu, Ibese jetty; let it be so. If it is 20 in Ebute, let it be so.

“The owners of the jetty are also part of the problem because they know that the fewer the number of boats, the smaller the money they make. But we don’t care about how much a jetty makes. If it’s just 10 boats that are certified fit, let them pay for jetty use. I’m not targeting anybody; we are just after safety.”

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