Home News Maritime Safety: NIMASA to Toughen Action Against Untrained, Uncertified Boat Skippers

Maritime Safety: NIMASA to Toughen Action Against Untrained, Uncertified Boat Skippers

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Pearl Ngwama

The 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 the Agency by
General Manager of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr.
Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, in reaction to the recent fatal boat mishaps
on the country’s inland waterways.

He 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.
“We have a number of boat skippers that are not trained, and not
knowledgeable enough and 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,”
Jamoh stated.

“I am glad to see the synergy and collaboration that is developing
with the LASWA because we all have as our common mandate the job of
ensuring safety in our waters,” he added.
He disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Transportation was also in
the process of building unified enforcement guidelines for safety in
the country’s waters, stressing that the synergy between NIMASA and
the Lagos State Government would help to fast track the process.

The Director General urged greater supervision of officers engaged in
the enforcement of safety standards.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that we monitor and supervise the
staff that are given the responsibility of enforcing the issue of
safety at sea,” he stated, adding that safety procedures, such as
availability of adequate lifejackets, good condition of the boat, and
time of use, must be verified by enforcement officers before a boat
sets sail.

In his own remarks, the LASWA General Manager promised to intensify
information sharing between his agency and NIMASA as part of efforts
to improve collaboration for maritime safety.
“We have the database of small craft, which I believe that we would be
ready to share with NIMASA,” he said.

He also elaborated on the importance of uniform enforcement procedure,
saying, “I am really excited that this is happening because overtime
what we generally tend to see on the waterways is an overlap of so
many functions. I am sure that it is not news to anyone here the
issues we have had over the years between LASWA and the National
Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and how that has affected the things
that have happened on the waterways.”

Photo: DG NIMASA, Bashir   Jamoh

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