Against the background of recent fatal boat mishaps on the country’s inland waterways, Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has said the agency would get tough with untrained and uncertified boat skippers, who often ignore safety procedures and endanger the lives of passengers.
Jamoh stated this in Lagos during a courtesy visit to it by General Manager of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel.
The Director-General also suggested the development of cohesive safety enforcement guidelines and regulations for implementation across the littoral states.
He said the harmonisation of standards and procedures for safety in the territorial waters would go a long way in minimising unsafe practices by operators of non-conventional vessels, which are not subject to international standards, but rely mainly on national regulations.
He added: “We have a number of boat skippers that are not trained, and not knowledgeable enough because they do not have certification. They only know how to maneuver the boat and risk people’s lives.
“We will now start to check that. The issue is important, that is why I would start to take it more seriously, because charity begins at home. If we have enforcement officers and they are laid back, they will continue to watch what is happening without doing anything to help in times of crisis.”