Boat operations: NIWA introduces compulsory passengers manifest

In response to the recent accidents involving passenger boats on Lagos waters and other parts of the country, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has introduced a compulsory manifest in boat operations in Lagos State to ascertain the number of passengers boarding a ferry.

The Head of Lagos Office of NIWA, Mrs. SaratSulaimon, confirmed that the introduction of the compulsory manifest followed the recent boat mishap in Ikorodu.
Sulaimon said that eight people died in the accident while one person was missing.
Speaking on what NIWA and other relevant agencies have been doing since the last boat mishap, she disclosed that NIMASA (Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency), NIWA, NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) had met with the operators.

“We went to see all their captains, check their certification, and know whether or not they were fit to operate the boats. “We found out that there was a lot of conflicting stories about the number of people on board. So, from there we realised we were supposed to introduce a system of taking passengers manifest before entering boats.”
She said, however, that the eight people died in spite of wearing life jackets owing to late arrival of rescue teams, adding that NIWA would intensify efforts on safety of passengers in water transportation.

“Before now, we used to have problem of people not wearing jackets; we used to have problem of people wearing fake life jackets. But now, I think we have our staff members going around all the jetties to make sure the passengers correctly wear life jackets; people are aware of the importance of wearing it. The only thing is that we want to intensify more on our safety talk to make them know that the essence of life jacket is not for you to sit in the boat when there is an accident, you jump into the water, that life jacket will save you or take you to where you will see rescue teams.”

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