Maritime agencies in the country in effort to address the frequent fatal capsizing of boats on the nation’s waterways, have resolved to ensure security and safety on waterways for improved water transportation through adequate collaboration and synergy.
Dr George Moghalu, Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), disclosed this on Thursday at the end of the Third Monthly Meeting of Chief Executives of Maritime Agencies in Lokoja.
Moghalu said the Chief Executives of the agencies discussed issues relating to maritime security and safety, capacity building and enforcement of security protocols, to reduce the carnage on the nation’s waterways.
“This is our routine meeting which from the point when we started, is aimed at building synergy by coming together, taking our policies together, to see how we can work together for the benefit of our nation, Nigeria.’’
According to him, the CEOs at the meeting constituted a committee on the multimodal approach to cargo delivery, to enhance seaport and dryport operations.
“We are looking at what we can do to harmonise the operations of all maritime agencies in the country to better the maritime industry, especially in the area of movement of cargo between the waterports.’’
He said that there was a need for effective water transportation in view of the positive impact it would make on the economy, in reducing ports congestion and haulage of heavy duty goods through the roads.
On frequent capsizing of boats and mishaps on the Waterways and safety measures, he noted that only last week, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency/ (NIMASA) organised a “world-class safety and security conference” in the country.
“The Safety issue is not peculiar to our Waterways, we also have security challenges on land but the important thing is that government is conscious of this fact.
“Agencies of government are also conscious of this fact. Gunboats have been acquired, NIMASA is also doing a lot in that direction.’’
Moghalu urged the citizens to play roles expected of them and obey basic rules and regulations laid down by NIWA, as he attributed the incessant boat mishaps to non-compliance by boat riders.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that agencies present at the meeting included NIWA, NIMASA, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Shippers Council and the Federal Ministry of Transport, among others.